Ahhh, It City, where construction cranes perennially pepper the skyline and the traffic is constantly gridlocked. All complaining aside, it’s a great time to call Nashville, Tennessee, home—especially if you’re a startup seeking to solve one of the problems caused by the city’s rapid growth.
Launched in December 2016, Container Concierge is a simple concept, but one that Nashville’s newest downtown residents are clamoring for—on-demand storage services. For a fee, the startup will deliver storage containers to downtown condos, pick the containers up once they are packed, and bring them back to the resident when those items are needed again.
We recently talked to founder Bob Jacobs to find out more about this Nashville startup.
Where did the idea for the company come from? It sounds like it’s meeting a very clear need, but how did you know this need existed?
I’ve had an interest in mini-storage for several years and have been watching how similar concepts have exploded in Northeastern states. With Nashville expanding daily and the cost of land to build storage facilities close to downtown being extremely expensive, I saw a need for this service here. Plus, everyone is a fan of the on-demand services now these days. We make it convenient and cost effective to store things when living downtown.
Is this your first experience with a startup?
This is not my first experience with a startup, but it is my first experience with a business-to-consumer model. I also own and operate the Symbiosis Company, which helps companies be more successful by providing client relationship brokering. That company, along with other investments I’ve made around the city, is strictly B2B. Container Concierge is my first B2C venture.
What has been the biggest challenge facing you as a founder? How are you overcoming it?
Creating awareness and educating our audience has been the biggest challenge. New businesses start up in Nashville every day so we are going the extra mile to make sure we stand out as a unique, premier service with direct mail pieces, social media, PR efforts and meeting with condos and apartment complexes to establish partnerships.
What is your best piece of advice to other founders or other people who may be interested in starting a company?
Forget your expectations and be nimble. When starting a company, things rarely go the way you plan or turn out the way you originally envisioned them. And that’s fine as long as you are flexible, running a lean operation and determined to find a profitable solution to challenges.
What has been the biggest mistake you’ve made so far in this startup journey? How about biggest success?
My biggest mistake in this venture has been underestimating the differences between B2B and B2C business models. A B2B sales approach does not work for a B2C company. B2C is typically a much faster sale, but it’s a different approach. I had to adjust my approach before our December launch to ensure the demand would be there once we got up and running.
My biggest success has been the general response we’ve received from everyone who hears about the new service. We’ve partnered with some of the largest condos and apartments in town. People are excited that Nashville is now big enough to need something like this.
Where do you see the company in six months, one year, three years, five?
Over the next six months, we expect to see steady growth and to meet our quarterly goals of the number of boxes we want to be distributing on a quarterly basis. By the end of 2017, we will be expanding to a different city, so we will be working to really define our model this year so that it is easily duplicated in multiple cities.