Fostering a positive company culture runs in the family for Brad Herrmann, president and founder of software company Text-Em-All in Frisco.
Prior to founding Text-Em-All in 2005 with business partner Hai Nguyen, Herrmann was working at a company his dad started, which was eventually sold to a larger publicly traded company. After several years, Herrmann began missing the company culture his father had created.
“My dad did good company culture before people really talked about that. He was open and transparent with the numbers and the books, and he shared profits with the employees,” Herrmann said. “You were treated with respect and assumed positive intent; all of these wonderful things that sadly are missing from a lot of companies. I took that for granted.”
That missing piece spurred Herrmann and Nguyen to break out on their own and launch Text-Em-All in 2005, starting out in Hall Office Park and growing steadily over the next 16 years. The company now has more than 40 employees and is located across the Dallas North Tollway from The Star, employing a variety of software engineers, account managers and customer experience specialists.
“Because we didn’t like what happened after [my dad’s] company was bought, we said, ‘Let’s start the kind of company that’s going to be the place we want to work at forever,’” Herrmann said.
Text-Em-All’s business model was designed to be simple: self-service mass text messaging and automated calling services with no contracts and the ability to serve any client size, ranging from churches communicating with members, to a company trying to recruit new employees, to online retail giant Amazon. The company also never allows spam messages; no political, marketing or fundraising messages are sent through Text-Em-All’s platform.
“Many companies are finding a lot more success via text. It’s really blown up as the primary methodology for connecting people over the last five years,” Head of Marketing Ron Kinkade said. “Ninety-eight percent of text messages are read within 90 seconds, so it’s an incredibly effective tool for reaching people.”
Through the ups and downs of the pandemic—when Text-Em-All saw its demand increase ten-fold overnight—and the company’s lifetime, Text-Em-All leadership has been committed to making a positive impact in the community and fostering a positive company culture for its employees. A big part of that commitment harkens back to the founders’ goal of becoming a 100-year company, which to them means being employee-owned, profitable, and long-lasting—a direct contradiction to most start-ups or venture-capital firms.
“When I think about our culture, it’s not the free snacks, or cool office space, or ping pong—to me it’s about how we come to work and care about each other and our customers and doing great things for our community,” Kinkade said.
This goes back to the company’s manifesto, which was created by its own employees to include phrases and statements about what makes Text-Em-All a unique company, ranging from “We do the right thing, even when no one’s looking,” to “You should fire us if we suck.”
“If we stink, go somewhere else is a funny line, but there’s a lot behind it,” Hermann said. “Not only do we believe we should earn your business every time you use us, we’re also just the, ‘give us a chance’ people. Give us a chance and we’ll knock your socks off.”
When it comes to employee retention, Herrmann said it can be great to have an engaged workforce, but the other part is about asking people’s family members if they love where they work.
“Sometimes a person loves their job, but their spouse hates it. Here we celebrate work/life integration,” Hermann said. “We think if you’re really truly happy, they should work together and complement each other and that’s a better indicator. When you take care of people, they take care of customers, and then the customers are happy and it’s a wonderful cycle.”
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Company culture key to local Frisco software company Text-Em-All’s growth
Brad Herrmann (left) founded software company Text-Em-All with business partner Hai Nguyen (right) in 2005. The Frisco-based business has since grown to employ more than 40 people.