I had an incredibly lucky week las November. I successfully pitched at Oxford’s Humanities Challenge Award (see previous post) and to MBAs in a one minute video that competed with over a 100 other start-ups and companies for the attention and time of a group of 5 MBAs for a term.

I was lucky. 12 got in touch. In the end, a group of 5 MBAs formed to help strategies Azure’s DNA. They came from a variety of backgrounds and nationalities. So this all seemed great because I thought: I’m at the head of a group of 5 great bright and aggressive minds… They’ll shape us Azure in no time. I might have miscalculated so here are some lessons I’ve learned by having the team around:

-       Don’t be late… like ever

-       Know what direction you are going in, even if it’s to have it challenged and altered

-       Don’t underestimate how important group cohesion is

-       Listen to those who know best but…

-       You’re ultimately the one who decides

-       Stop apologising in communication when you ask for questions or things to be done

-       Incentivise those who work with you because good will only takes you so far

-       Makes lists of things to do divided into 3 categories:

o   ultimate goals

o   steps to get there

o   shit is about to hit the fan unless you do this today!

-       Set clear deadlines for clear targets

-       Follow-up

-       Be clear in communication, always

-       Don’t flood people’s inboxes with crap

-       Hold people accountable

-       Do it yourself if someone isn’t doing it right

-       It all depends on having the dollar sign at the end of your forecast sheet!!!

It was a learning curve to hang out with my EP.244 group. I loved the weekly meetings and the companionship. I loved the approach and efficiency and professionalism I saw in them. I’m not a good leader so that’s something I can work on. In the end, the team was instrumental in applying for a BTI, forging an essential contact with the Jesuit university of Ibero in Mexico, understanding that pinole sold as pinole has little appeal to the “LatAm” and that the way I set up Azure is… not profitable :S

Most importantly, I understood that I had managed to get them fired up to join Azure for a term because my pitch was great but I failed to get them interested because I don’t have a good enough handle of how Azure will turn out and be profitable as a business. So back to the drawing board with numbers and forecasts and P&L sheets.