At The Post, we enjoy speaking to entrepreneurs and learning about their journey. In the Entrepreneur Series, we are interviewing a series of entrepreneurs to learn about their journey to success and growth. In the first interview in this series, we interviewed Tink Taylor, the founder and president of dotmailer.
In 2018, the reported net worth of dotmailer was over £300million. dotmailer is a marketing automation platform with an impressive client list of over 5000 customers including DHL, Charlotte Tilbury, Tui and Barbour.
Here is our full Q&A session with Tink
What motivated you to start dotmailer?
dotmailer began as a web design business, I was always entrepreneurial and had wanted to be part of my own business. I spent some time seeking out the right business partners. Having found the guys who also inspired me and some possible clients we set about doing business! Having built a number of websites the next obvious thing that our clients needed was marketing hence dotmailer was born.
Each side of the business, email, e-commerce and web development were very successful in their own right. However, it was obvious that dotmailer could really go somewhere. We made the difficult decision to take me out of the day to day aspects of the other business areas, which was hard as I really enjoyed them and I was very good at it! However, dotmailer needed focus and dedicated attention… having done this the rest is history!
What advice do you have for anyone who wants to start a SAAS business?
So many people want to start a SAAS business but make sure it’s a good one. Validate there is a market for your product.
Some people worry if there are already players in the market but for me, that validates that there are clients out there ready to buy your services. Go out and do it better than your competitors.
I also have to say focus on your recurring revenues, build these then it becomes easy to forecast the scaling of your business.
What qualities do you think have served you well as an entrepreneur?
I’m not afraid of hard work! I think this is key, I have put in plenty of long days and long nights. Also not always on things I naturally enjoy, but stuff needs doing to progress. Do this and you can scale and ultimately employ folks that enjoy those tasks and are no doubt better at them than you are!
What do you wish people would stop putting in emails from a marketing perspective?
Irrelevant content… the technology and the data points we have available to us these days really does enable you to fulfil the old marketing adage of sending the right message at the right time to the right person.
It really is simple to deliver hyper personalised one to one messages… and let’s not forget about sending messages these days in the right channel for the consumer!
dotmailer is much more than an email automation tool these days, we have gone truly omnichannel allowing our clients to not only send emails but things like SMS, Facebook messages, Push notifications etc with things like WeChat and WhatsApp coming soon. It is an exciting time for us and all of our customers.
What advice to have in general for people looking to set up their own business?
This is really covered in the above. Make sure you validate the market, that you are prepared to work hard, make sacrifices and surround yourself with good people. I’m not sure that many people realise the effort you have to put in and miss the perks of the job that you would get in the corporate world… If you are prepared to forego these and you are prepared to knuckle down you are in good shape.
What is your favourite book?
I get asked this all the time and it’s not a question I enjoy. I hear so many unsuccessful or negative folks quoting what so and so said in his business book. I really don’t think you can build a business based on someone else story… get out there make your own success and write your own book!
That said when pressed I always say Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell… all marketers should have a read.
What is your favourite podcast? (if you have one)
There are so many good ones out there in my industry, especially based on the e-commerce space where I spend a lot of time. It wouldn’t be right and I wouldn’t be doing myself any favours by naming one of them as my favourite!
I do like listening to ‘How I Built This is an American podcast about some of the world’s most famous entrepreneurs, they are all innovators, idealists, and I love the stories behind the movements they built”
One thing you wish SAAS business owners would stop doing?
Raising money! Not in the general sense but I see far too many businesses focused on raising funds way too early. As an investor in numerous tech companies myself, I like to see some work has been done and some results have been achieved. You look like a much more believable story if you do this.