Priit Vaikmaa is a digital marketing specialist and entrepreneur with more than 20 years of experience in the field. He is also the CEO of TextMagic and co-founder of Touchpoint, where he continues to develop SaaS products to help other businesses and entrepreneurs to realize their ambitions.
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Tell us a little bit about your current projects. What exciting milestone would you like to share with our readers? (Don’t hesitate to delve into your achievements, they will inspire the audience)
Priit Vaikmaa: The project that I’m focused on at the moment is an upcoming customer engagement software for sales, marketing, and customer support that we’re calling Touchpoint, which we expect to launch in 2023. By using it, companies can integrate various communication channels (SMS, email, text applications, and calls) into one environment. It will combine engagement and communication channels required to find customers, close deals, and provide customer support. It will also offer user-friendly reporting, analytics, and collaboration capabilities.
Touchpoint is also connected to a more immediate milestone that we will reach later this year, when we conduct our Initial Public Offering with a share issue up to €2.5 million on Nasdaq First North Tallinn, an alternative market within Nasdaq Baltic.
The funds raised by the IPO will help fund the development of additional features for the TextMagic service along with Touchpoint, and further, grow TextMagic’s brand recognition within the application-to-person (A2P) SMS market. To support our growth in these areas, the proceeds will also be used to recruit additional members to the team, as well as provide a working capital buffer.
Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey? Did you ever consider giving up?
Priit Vaikmaa: After I completed the management buyout of TextMagic in 2013, the next few years up until 2017 were challenging to keep up with the buyout loan payments.
There may have been times that I thought about giving up in that period, especially as a few people were a little skeptical of my decision to make this investment at the time. I never seriously considered it, though, as I try not to hold myself back by listening to skeptics. By that point, I had already been TextMagic’s CEO since 2007, I was committed to the company and sure of its success, so that certainly made it easier to tough it out.
What are the most common mistakes you see entrepreneurs make and what would you suggest they do?
Priit Vaikmaa: A lack of focus in your initial business plan is a really common mistake. It is great to have lofty goals and ambitions, but you can’t come out of the gate trying to offer everything to everyone. Start smaller, with an achievable minimum viable product or service that you can deliver consistently and to high quality, and build up from there. When I joined TextMagic our monthly revenue was just €10K per month, and now it is more than €1M per month.
Has the pandemic and transitioning into mostly online shopping affected your company positively or negatively?
Priit Vaikmaa: The pandemic has been an overall boost to the A2P industry. It has created an urgent need for businesses of all kinds to contact their customers and employees via texting, which increased the total number of sent texts to 172 million by our users in 2020.
When you think of your company, 5 years from now, what do you see?
Priit Vaikmaa: The plan for the next 5 years is focused on expanding our global presence and broadening our range of marketing and communication services. Our goal is for TextMagic to reach 1 billion sent texts per year by our customers within the next 5 to 8 years, along with combined revenue of €100m ARR between both TextMagic and Touchpoint.
You are a successful business leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success?
Priit Vaikmaa: To make your business successful, you need to have a clear vision that you can communicate to your team and the world. You also need to be resilient. There are always going to be setbacks, and sometimes they can be pretty crushing. You can’t be the type of person that gives up when things get tough.
Humility is also important. Great leaders are not right all of the time. If you can’t take feedback or criticism on board, or you won’t listen to other ideas and suggestions, your business is going to stagnate.
How important do you think it is for a leader to be mindful of his own brand?
Priit Vaikmaa: I think it is very important, as attitude and motivation generally come from the top one way or another. People tend to take their cues from the leadership in a business when it comes to their approach to work, so maintaining a personal brand that inspires the qualities you want to see in people is one of the responsibilities of being a leader.
How would you define “leadership”?
Priit Vaikmaa: Good leadership is about inspiring and helping people build their skills and confidence as much as it is about rallying people to a common cause. I’m proud to say I’ve built a team that can run the day-to-day business operations without me, enabling me to focus on the big picture and the company’s future.
Do you think entrepreneurship is something that you’re born with or something that you can learn along the way?
Priit Vaikmaa: There are definitely personal traits and characteristics that an entrepreneur needs to be successful, and not everyone has them. That doesn’t mean they can’t learn them, however, and while these traits are helpful, nobody is born with the skills or expertise they need to succeed. The habits and traits of a successful entrepreneur can be learned and adopted, even if this is harder for some than for others.
The most important step in any entrepreneur’s journey is always the first one. You have to take that risk and get started, don’t just think about doing it ‘one day’.
What’s your favorite “business” quote and how has it affected your business decisions?
Priit Vaikmaa: “Every problem is a gift—without problems we would not grow.” – Anthony Robbins
This is a great source of motivation for me when I face a challenge or setback. It is a reminder that these are opportunities to learn, and with the right attitude, I can come out stronger on the other side.
Mike Weiss, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Priit Vaikmaa for taking the time to do this interview and share his knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Priit Vaikmaa or his company, you can do it through his – Linkedin Page
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