Meet the CEO and founder of Shift
So tell me about Shift Jacob - how does it work?
Having soft launched a year ago and with an official launch announcement coming next month, Shift aims to help anybody move anything, anywhere, anytime, with thousands of Shifters available to customers up and down the country at the touch of a button. Whether it’s changing address from Edinburgh to London, or carrying heavy goods ten minutes down the road, our completely flexible platform works around the nation’s schedule. We combine technology with intelligent algorithms in real-time to find the best suited Shifter for any job, offering customers the quickest and easiest on-demand moving service, whilst empowering the nation’s self-employed workforce.
Inspiration is always a great indication of why people launch businesses. Who or what inspired you to get started?
After I left college I built a London-based home moving company, which involved a fleet of vans and employed drivers. I instantly saw flaws with this outdated model, and that’s what inspired me to create Shift.
I recognised that technology has the potential to revolutionise logistics through a marketplace model, making the movement of anything – from a single item or the entire contents of a home take minutes rather than days for a few pounds. Shift was created to empower drivers and customers alike to making their lives easier by connecting them at scale.
How do you set yourself apart from other businesses in your industry?
The ‘man and van’ sector is quite naturally a very competitive landscape. Our point of difference lies in the fact that our business simplifies absolutely everything for customers and is designed to be flexible for busy people on the move; in three simple steps a Shifter can be booked and arrive at your doorstep a short 20 minutes later. Enabling the nation to move anything, anywhere, anytime, our services are paid by the half hour, which means that customers only pay for what they use.
We provide an each of our customer’s needs, working around their schedule giving users a cheaper, more reliable and bespoke moving service than any removal company.
How do you conquer those moments of doubt that so often affect enreprenuers or stop many with great ideas – what pushes you through?
In business, we don’t really have the time to let doubt get in our way. We have to continually make plans that we are confident in, find whether that is going to work quickly and not be afraid to change the plan following a lean approach. Ultimately the market will decide if our ideas are great ones and so we try to get things to that audience as soon as possible to get the feedback we need.
Who is your target audience?
When it comes to our audiences, its pretty simple: anybody that has a need to move anything can benefit from our service, and equally, anybody with a van can become a Shifter. Our mission is to revolutionise the way we think about moving, whilst at the same time empowering the nation’s self-employed and flexible workforce.
What would be your number one tip for young entrepreneurs who are ready to launch their own business?
A lot of people give the advice to think big, which is good to an extent but not many people know what that means in implementation. When you actually plan to achieve a goal which is 10x bigger than the true objective of the company, the difference in scale forces your mind to open to completing changing your approach. The idea being that even if you fall short of the big target, the plan is much more likely to allow you to easily achieve the true goal.
If you could have one person record your voicemail, who would it be and why?
Richard Branson - someone who thinks big and doesn’t look like he plans to stop anytime soon.
What plans do you have for Shift over the coming 12 months?
We have high growth ambitions for the year ahead – with global expansion already on the cards. Shift is revolutionising the way people think about moving and in the coming months, we are focusing on continued expansion and development of our platform, while also growing the brand and learning how to best serve our customers.
What’s the most important question entrepreneurs should be asking themselves?
Why. Why is the most powerful question you can ask yourself. If you wholeheartedly understand why you are working to achieve something then you will find the stamina to get there. It could be a vision of the future that you feel should become a reality sooner rather than later.
How do you believe the evolution of tech will affect your industry over the next 10 years?
With the constant progression of technology, seeing drones in the sky, and robots on the road may be as normal as seeing delivery vans every day. Consumers constantly look for faster and more resourceful ways to move, send and receive things, whilst at the same time remaining cost-effective, environmentally friendly and practical.
We have very ambitious plans for the future, and have our eyes set on really interesting and innovative ways we can change the future of travel and delivery for good. We actually don’t see autonomous delivery vehicles as being that far off. The tech is there just about and while legislation is going to get in the way of passenger vehicles we can reduce the risk by just having cargo in our vehicles so think it will come first.
What habits do you think helped you to become successful?
True focus on business success which is followed by a dedication to see our visions enter reality as soon as possible. And working 15 hour days 7 days a week also helps.
Find out more about Jacob Corlett founder of Shift.