Don’t be afraid to listen to the opinions of others in your industry. Discussing ideas with likeminded professionals can spark more creativity in your process.
The Simonini Group with principal David Simonini as Director of Creative Consulting, is well-known for quality and high-end luxury homes. David Simonini and the Simonini Group specialize in building unique and specialty developments. Three current ongoing projects are including Rivers Edge, Country Club Villas of Lincolnton, and Rea Court Townhomes and Rivers Edge at Lake Wylie.
David Simonini has been in the building and construction business his entire life, he began by building decks at age 13. He graduated with a degree in marketing in 1982, from the University of South Carolina and joined the family business in 1983. He decided to branch out on his own from the family business in 1994, and the rest as they say, is history. In 1998 he was presented with the Entrepreneur of the Year Award presented by the Chamber of Commerce in Charlotte.
David Simonini Custom Homes, rebranded several years ago as Simonini Group, has won numerous local and national awards over the years, Professional Builder Magazine awarded them Best Neighborhood Custom Home Magazine presented a Design award, and American Builders, Contractors and Designers gave them the Elite Who’s Who Award.
David Simonini spends his free time traveling with his wife or watching sports. They go to a lot of basketball games. Until knee issues caught up with him, he used to play tennis, but does play golf occasionally.
Where did the idea for your company come from?
Well, before rebranding it to the Simonini Group, it was David Simonini Custom Homes for years. When we started doing townhouses and some commercial properties, and a mix-use of real estate products, the name was changed to encompass all the different things we did.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I highly value the usefulness of lists. I usually make a list the night before. While making this list, I set meeting after meeting, knocking out what needs to be done. In addition, I spend a lot of time preparing the night before the next day. I like to surround myself with the leaders in this industry and top designers, and other land developers and do a lot of interacting with them as well as sharing ideas with top developers here in town.
How do you bring ideas to life?
It all starts with a plan. Once I have a rough idea and a plan set in place, then I proceed to find the right partners, whether it’s banks or personal partners and get the project going. That is precisely what I’m doing for my new project for 2019. I’ve had to sell the whole idea to a board of directors. You have to envision what you want to do and put it down on paper. Then we just implement from there, we start putting the right pieces and the right players in place to execute.
What’s one trend that excites you?
I don’t know how it is in the rest of the country, but around Charlotte we’ve always been two-story brick traditional house because this is brick country down here. I’m starting to see more transitional modern type architecture that’s probably been in the west coast for years. I think it’s really unique and stylish. it gives you a lot of opportunities to do some really unique things with new space. Everybody wants more efficient and high-quality space.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
It’s probably my vision, I see the bigger picture and visualize the final product before the project is even complete. That definitely speeds up the process. I can go to a land planner or an architect and spell out my vision and it eliminates the time of having to research and figure out what to do. When I see a piece of land, I already visualize immediately what the right product is for that, it just comes naturally for me after years of experience.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would tell younger David Simonini to stick to what you know and stay in your lane. Every time I’ve ventured into other areas, the result was less than stellar. I’m one of the best home builders, recognized as one of the tops in the country, just stick to what you know best. I try to tell my children the same thing. I’ve done commercial architecture, I’ve done some other business endeavors. However, I don’t know it as well so there’s a huge learning curve. When it comes to home building, it just comes purely natural to me. Luxury homes is my gift and that’s really where I need to stay.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
I’m always one step ahead of the market. I’m the one that told them in the 1990s, that European architecture was coming. I started building stone houses with cedar shake roofs and wrought iron foundations. A couple of years later, it was the biggest craze in Charlotte. I ventured out and built them prior to anybody else doing it. I built a modern house a couple of years ago for myself and others were like, “Oh my gosh, it’s so high tech and modern.” Now, they’re all doing it. I think it’s that I’m always bringing innovative, creative ideas to the market prior to others really understanding it. I’ve always been a pioneer and leader when it comes to bringing new ideas in architecture to the area.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Don’t be afraid to listen to the opinions of others in your industry. Discussing ideas with likeminded professionals can spark more creativity in your process. Gather all the information you can, then make an educated decision.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
If you do a good job and do it right, word-of-mouth spreads and then you’re going to be a success. Don’t cut corners, don’t speed something up that takes time to do. When I take a project, I take my time and do it right. Make sure that we’ve thought through all the different obstacles before we start.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I once built a subdivision in Charlotte called Courance. It was a mediterranean village design concept, a gated community. European style homes in Charlotte had not yet made it to the Charlotte market so it was a huge risk. I didn’t know if it would sell or be a tremendous failure. I moved forward. I wouldn’t compromise the quality or integrity of the project. I did it correctly. Ultimately It was awarded the number one subdivision in the USA.
Staying true to my vision and waiting it out until the market understood that I was trying to create something special eventually paid off.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
In this current market condition, I believe a safe business idea would to be to be a subcontractor. For example, in tile, roofing or siding. It just takes good business sense and hiring proper workers to do the work. Be careful who you do business with so there are no issues with getting paid, etc., but this can be a great way to have a business where business is presold and a way to get your feet into construction.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Taking my children and grandchildren out to dinner a week ago.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
We use Excel spreadsheets, which is pretty basic and simple to project out our projects. It’s just simple, it’s not a fancy software, but it’s something we use on every project.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
A close friend gave me a copy of The Secret by Rhonda Byrne. It’s based on the concept of laws of attraction. It says that what you choose to think about can change your life.
What is your favorite quote?
“Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me. Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful, that’s what matters to me” by Steve Jobs.
- Don’t be afraid to listen to the opinions of others in your industry
- Don’t cut corners, don’t speed something up that takes time to do.
- Don’t cut corners, don’t speed something up that takes time to do.