Azim Lakhoo Founded Coastal Resources, an Alberta oil and gas company.
Ever since Azim Lakhoo moved to Calgary in the mid-1970s, he has been interested in pursuing a career in the oil and gas industry. His first job in the industry was an accountant for a smaller oil and gas company. He used this time to educate himself in the field and prepare for starting his own company.
Azim Lakhoo founded Coastal Resources with partners not long after with some help from his friends and family. This was a strategic time to enter the oil and gas business because many of the larger oil and gas companies were selling off their non-core properties, thus allowing for easier entry into the industry by smaller players.
To ensure the continued success of Coastal Resources, the Company adopts a strategy that involves giving his employees creative freedom. With a staff that is always focused on innovating and improving, Coastal has been reachng new levels of success with each passing year. To be successful, Azim Lakhoo advises that you surround yourself with smart, talented individuals. As a business owner, it’s impossible to do everything yourself (as much as you might want to), so it’s essential that you have employees around you that you can trust to not only get the job done, but get the job done well.
How did you get started in this business? What inspired you?
When I first moved to Calgary in the 1970s, oil was booming. It seemed that everyone was involved in the industry in some way or another, so naturally I wanted to be involved as well. I like the idea of being part of an industry that had unlimited potential for growth.
When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?
I suppose all entrepreneurs probably have doubts or nervousness when first starting their ventures. It’s only natural and I was no different. The key is to always believe in yourself and your vision and focus on execution. With an existing demand for the product, thereby no marketing required, if one was able to be successful in drilling and producing the oil, success was imminent. The only unknown factor was pricing which is beyond our hands, but at that time it was on an uptick!
What is one marketing strategy (other than referrals) that you’re using that works well to generate new business?
As mentioned Oil & Gas does not really require marketing. However, other operations like hotels throughout Canada and the U.S, social media has played a big role in drumming up business. People are constantly on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. so ad campaigns on these platforms just makes sense. Think of how many more eyes you can reach now through social media than you could before with more traditional advertising.
What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?
Business apart, it’s always tough being away from family, especially when you have a young family, but it’s also part of the job. I often have to take business trips to other provinces or out of the country and again with a young growing family, it’s never easy leaving them for any period.
What do you think it is that makes you successful?
I would say that I have a strong ability to analyze situations and assign the right people to various tasks. It’s important in my position to be able to see the big picture when it comes to business matters. It’s the constant projections and planning as to where we’re going, where the market seems to be heading and making the necessary changes that allows us to be ready for any challenges and always keeps us on the ball.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
When we first branched out from oil and gas it was an exciting time. We had experience in real estate and land development but weren’t sure weather moving our entire focus away from Oil & Gas was a good idea as one has only so many hours in a day. However, with good planning and people, it has worked out very well and it is very satisfying to see that Coastal is more than just an oil and gas company now.
What does the future hold for your business? What are you most excited about?
We hope to continue diversifying and innovating the business. There are so many possibilities out there and we’re looking forward to exploring them through Coastal.
What is a recent purchase you have made that’s helped with your business?
We’re constantly upgrading the technology that we use. Whether it’s new software or hardware, it’s essential for us to stay on the technological edge. It’s incredible some of the new technologies that are coming out. They can do extraordinary things but only if you let them. It’s easy to become stuck in a way of doing things but you’ve got to be willing to change and upgrade whenever possible.
What is the best thing about your current job?
Being part of a company that is not afraid to indulge in any industry (and yes, we have been unsuccessful in some) allows us to look at any projects as opportunities and that’s a great feeling as we could be discussing real estate one day and technology the other and how to integrate the two the next day.