Damon Becnel has been instrumental to the development of Destin, Florida. As a resort property, commercial property, and residential property developer, he has built many multi-million-dollar projects both in Destin and in the surrounding area. At present, he is working on an eco-resort and spa in the town of Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico.

His expertise in the fields of commercial and residential real estate development has led to increasing prominence and an excellent professional reputation. Becnel’s projects include equestrian developments, resorts, conference centers, hotels, and residential homes.
Becnel has over 25 years of experience in the real estate sector. Before he became involved in development as a career, he had a summer job in construction. This gave him a view of the development industry from a unique perspective.

Prominent properties that he has developed in the greater Destin area include the Palms of Destin Resort and Conference Center, Sandestin Urgent Care, Saddleback Equestrian Development, and Hotel DeFuniak.

In addition to the eco-resort and spa in Puerto Rico, Damon Becnel is currently at work on several other projects. He is developing two condominium projects in Destin and Perdido Key. Together, these two projects are worth almost $170 million. He is also involved with the Med-Spa of Sandestin and the Med-Spa of Destin, enhancing the community’s offerings.

Damon Becnel is a leading figure in the property development community in Destin, Florida who is expanding his influence to Puerto Rico. His quality projects speak for themselves and improve the community for residents and visitors alike.

How did you get started in this business?

I became interested in the real estate development business when I was in college. I had been working construction as a summer job for some time, and I became fascinated by how new projects come together and the process of development. I wanted to make my own mark on the community through the thoughtful development of hotels, resorts, commercial properties, and residential homes.

How do you make money?

We make money by recouping our investments in developments. Our company needs large amounts of funding to get a project off the ground, but we generally make all of the money back through property improvements and sales. When you develop a hotel or resort, you are dependent on its success before you will make your money back.

How long did it take for you to become profitable?

Not long, maybe three to four years. There are always lean times at the start of new business. However, with dedication and perseverance, I was able to make a name for myself in the land development industry. It wasn’t easy, but it has definitely paid off.

When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?

I certainly had my doubts, but they paled in comparison to my conviction that I would be successful in real estate development. Dealing with doubts is always hard as a business owner. It’s important not to let on that you are unsure about the prospects of a project when you are talking to investors and banks. You need to project confidence.

How did you get your first customer?

I had the best proposal when compared to my competitors. When you are proposing a new development, you are often in tight competition with other companies. I believe that my company’s skills and special qualities have helped us succeed when compared to others in the community.

What is one marketing strategy (other than referrals) that you’re using that works really well to generate new business?

My company uses social media for marketing our properties that are in operation. Social media is a fantastically cost-effective solution, and it is possible to build a fan following of your business online.

What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?

I had to let an employee go. It is my least favorite part of being a business executive, but there are times when you simply can’t keep an employee due to their shortcomings. I closely analyzed what they were doing for the company versus what they were costing us, and the math did not come out in their favor.

What do you think it is that makes you successful?

I believe that my ability to listen has made me successful. Many business executives would rather expound their thoughts than listen to others, but I have discovered the value of listening through long-standing experience. Having the ability to listen means that you can absorb information from anyone and that you make them feel important.

What has been your most satisfying moment in business?

Opening the Palms of Destin was very satisfying. Since the conference center opened, we have created many jobs and brought more visitors to the area, directly influencing the Destin area’s economy.

What does the future hold for your business? What are you most excited about?

I am very excited about our new development in Puerto Rico. I have vacationed there for many years, and I have been inspired by the natural beauty of the area as well as the friendly and relaxed local population. Eco-resorts are having a moment as people are beginning to think about the consequences of where they choose to vacation.

What business books have inspired you?

It sounds funny, but I got a lot out of Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson. The book uses a parable to teach valuable business lessons about the nature of success. It approaches the topic with humor but drives home a serious point.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

I would tell my younger self not to worry so much and to have more faith in his abilities. When I started in this business, I wasn’t sure that I had the personal qualities needed to be successful, but I have since found that I am able to create my own destiny.

Are you willing to be a mentor? If so, how should someone contact you?

Sadly, I am too busy to be a mentor at this time. I wish your readers the best of luck in finding someone who can help to further their careers. Having a mentor is incredibly valuable.


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