Damon Becnel is a leading figure in the real estate development industry in Destin, Florida. He has been involved in developing resort properties, commercial properties, and residential properties in Florida. Currently, he is working on expanding his business to Puerto Rico through the construction of a 240-unit eco-resort and spa in Cabo Rojo.

Becnel is one of the top real estate developers in the Destin area, and he has certainly made his presence felt through the development of many successful properties. His properties range from resorts and conference centers to fine residential neighborhoods.

His multi-million-dollar portfolio includes Sandestin Urgent Care, which he sold in 2018, Hotel DeFuniak in DeFuniak Springs, Florida, the Palms of Destin Resort and Conference Center, and the Silver Shells Beach Resort.

Becnel is one of the key figures in the development of the Destin, Florida area. His large projects have helped to shape the residential character of the area, and he has been part of some of the projects that have brought jobs and outside attention to the region.

Damon Becnel worked his way up through the construction and development industries from the bottom. While he was attending high school and college, he worked in construction, specializing in drywall and framing. Shortly after he graduated from college, he began his career in property development as a consultant.

Damon Becnel will continue to be an influential figure in the development community in Florida, and he is expanding his empire to include Puerto Rico.

Where did the idea for your company come from?

I worked in construction during high school and college. I became fascinated with the process of developing a new property from the ground up. I enjoyed watching the properties become usable buildings and imagining what I would do differently if I were in charge. Upon graduation, I decided that I needed to join the real estate development industry.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

I tend to get an early start. I believe that I am the most productive in the morning. I usually have breakfast and work out before I go to work.

In the morning, I frequently take tours of my construction sites and check on their progress. I believe that you can’t be a successful developer if you don’t have a hands-on approach to projects. On-site management needs someone to remind them of the overall goal of the project and to make sure that they are getting all the details correct.

My afternoon is full of phone calls and emails. My assistant does a great job winnowing these down so that I only have to respond to the most important ones personally, but I still have a large workload. Working on so many projects at once means that I have to be adaptable and ready to change tasks at a moment’s notice.

My evenings are spent at home with my family, though sometimes I have to attend work dinners and entertain clients.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I enjoy brainstorming for new ideas. I sit down with my architects and engineers and we decide on the most important features of a new building or new project. Frequently, looking at the land gives me good ideas about how to use it to its best potential.

What’s one trend that excites you?

The trend toward artificial intelligence is very exciting. It isn’t used so much in the real estate development industry yet, but I foresee a time when it will be.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

Listening is the number one habit that makes me more productive. It’s amazing how many people fail to listen and just want to hear the sound of their own voice. I think that listening helps you connect with your employees and clients and helps everyone be more effective.

What advice would you give your younger self?

I would tell my younger self to study more math in high school and college. When you are calculating the cost of development and its financing, the math is highly complex. Understanding how to manipulate numbers is a big part of doing business.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

Listening is more important than talking. I know I’ve mentioned listening before, but I want to emphasize its importance.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

I recommend that everyone do their best to learn about their industry. It’s all well and good to be wrapped up in your own current projects, but you should have a sense of how the industry as a whole works in order to succeed.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.

Growing a business is a huge challenge for any entrepreneur. I have found that it is easier to help a business grow if you are open to new ideas.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

Not all of my projects have been successful. Sometimes the best you can do is to sell your project and start over elsewhere. I hate to admit defeat, but sometimes it is the only course of action you can take to avoid losing even more money.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers? (this should be an actual idea for a business, not business advice)

I think that an online event planning app would do very well. It could connect you to all of the local service providers that you would need to get your event off the ground.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

Living in Florida, the best $100 I spent recently has been on new golf clubs. Golf is a great way to connect with customers and your employees.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?

We use Microsoft Project to manage all of the details of our work. It is fairly easy to use, and it works seamlessly with our computers.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

I would recommend reading The Startup Playbook by Rajat Bhargava and Will Herman. This book can be very helpful for entrepreneurs who don’t know much about the process of starting a new business and what steps they need to go through before they can get off the ground.

What is your favorite quote?

“Business opportunities are like buses, there’s always another one coming.” – Richard Branson

Key Learnings

  • Listening is one of the most important things you can do as a business leader.
  • You should have a strong working knowledge of your industry before getting started in your career.
  • Using project management software is a must for any industry.