Priit Vaikmaa

CEO of TextMagic

Priit Vaikmaa is the CEO of TextMagic, an A2P SMS marketing platform. Priit has over 20 years of experience in digital services and in starting, running, and growing online businesses. He graduated from the Estonian Business School in 2007 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and management. Priit’s career has been dedicated to enabling businesses to communicate more effectively, and he is fascinated by the many ways in which human beings interact with each other using technology.

Where did the idea for TextMagic come from?

When I joined TextMagic in 2007, SMS marketing tools operated separately from the rest of the software businesses used to communicate with their customers. TextMagic recognized the need for a more comprehensive business texting platform that could manage customer information and integrate with other business apps in an end-to-end communications solution.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

We’ve built a great team who are fully capable of running the day-to-day business operations without my help, so that means I can focus on what matters most – growing the business. At the moment, I’m focused on bringing our new customer engagement platform – Touchpoint – to life.

How do you bring ideas to life?

Getting feedback and the opportunity to discuss ideas with the right people is of paramount importance. You need to seek out open-minded people who have the expertise to understand your vision but who will also give you their honest and unfiltered opinion on your decisions. You don’t need feedback from people who always tell you what you want to hear or those who shoot down every idea and feed off negativity.

What’s one trend that excites you?

Right now, there’s a growing demand for all customer engagement and communication channels, including texting, to be combined into a single unified platform. At the moment, most businesses rely on a patchwork of app integrations that can be unwieldy to maintain and troubleshoot. As a result, the trend for centralized customer engagement platforms will allow businesses to make full use of all the communication channels at their disposal without the need to learn dozens of different tools.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

No matter what is happening with the business, I always take the time to spend with my family and enjoy my hobbies. Working around the clock is a mistake a lot of entrepreneurs make early on in their careers, and I was no exception. All that does is lead to burnout. If you want to be more productive, make sure you are spending enough time on the things that make you feel calm, relaxed, and recharged.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Every project usually ends up needing more money and planning than you expected it to. Don’t let that hold you back from pursuing the next idea, but do all the preparation and research you can to understand what you are stepping into. Launching our IPO back in December was certainly a reminder of this lesson, as the full cost of the legal fees involved and the sheer amount of planning was a bit of a shock!

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

Building a successful business doesn’t mean that you will face fewer challenges, it just changes the kind of challenges you have to overcome.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Always focus on what your business ideas will do for people in the real world, not just the on-paper benefits. Offering products, features, and services with a technical edge over the competition is one thing, but always think about how they will fit into your customer’s daily workflows and make their lives easier.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

My strategy has been to surround myself with a team of people who are more knowledgeable than me in their given field and just as committed to the future of my business. As a result, I can not only trust them to manage and improve each area of our service but also provide their expert input when it comes to planning the next stages of growth.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

There haven’t been any major failures in my career as an entrepreneur (yet!), but I can tell you the biggest mistake I made earlier in my career was trying to do everything myself. Learn to delegate!

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

If you have a great business idea, don’t give it away for free! Just kidding.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

Dinner with my wife and kids because time spent connecting with family is always time well spent.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

We rely a lot on Jira (from Atlassian) to track activities and make sure that work is being completed on time and to the right specification. The market is overloaded with cloud-based productivity tools, but Jira is the standout platform for what we’re trying to achieve.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Napoleon Hill’s ‘Think and Grow Rich’ was a big influence on me when I first started my journey as an entrepreneur. Believing in an idea is the first step in making it happen, but you also need to take tangible steps towards achieving your goals.
That’s why I also recommend spending your time reading books that focus on practical information for your business, such as planning finances and investing wisely. They might not be as exciting or inspiring, but you need to know about the boring parts of running a business too.

What is your favorite quote?

“Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right!” – Henry Ford

Key Learnings:

  • Surround yourself with a strong team who will work together to grow your business;
  • All work and no play is not conducive to productivity;
  • Get feedback on your ideas, but don’t let negativity shake your confidence.