Danial Schön is a Pakistani billionaire who has been a global entrepreneur. He has been a natural born entrepreneur and we can see the sparkle in his eyes when he speaks about business. Since a young age, he has been involved in his family businesses and has been instrumental in creating value for his family business. In an exclusive conversation, Danial Schon talks about his background, his successes and failures and how he decided to embark in this almost impossible journey of sustaining the legacy and his current business situation. He shares some of the lessons he learned and also discusses about the difference in mindset which is a common denominator across all billionaires. Through the process, he tried to unlock the secrets behind their Entrepreneurial Mindset and success. Danial was born in New Jersey, USA, and he grew up between Karachi, Pakistan and Manhattan, New York. He said: “My life has been multi-dimensional owing to the fact that I have been a global citizen. My first business venture was at the age of 4. Roller-skates were just introduced and I wanted to make money to buy candy. So, I made all my cousins perform roller skating shows, charged uncles, aunts, and family members money, and made instant profits at a young age. That candy was so rewarding because I earned it myself. That candy gave me my realization of wanting to be an entrepreneur and structuring deals.” His father, Tahir H Schön, Chairman of Schon Group founded the group firm in 1971. Four decades later, Schon Group has grown to be one of the largest groups in Pakistan, which eventually grew into an Airline, Bank, Fiber Production Plant, Carpet Manufacturing Facility, Capital Brokerage, Television Network, Oil Refining, and Islamic Finance House. The secret of 25-year success of the group lies in honesty and integrity. However, as the group flourished, it had to face the political victimize in 1996. Consequently, the headquarter of the company was moved to Dubai and operated from there for many years to come. “When we moved to Dubai, my father and uncle worked hard and started in real estate. They had a very innovative model wherein they would buy a building with all 2-bedroom and 3-bedroom apartments, reconfigure the building into all studios and 1 Bedroom apartments, thereby, increasing the rental and sales value. They were averaging 5X returns on invested capital every 2 years. Their main focus was also to increase rental income. They grew with the city of Dubai and built a successful business model.” shared Danial Schon. In 2005, the Government of Pakistan signed an agreement with Schon Group and gave their assets back and honorably exonerated the family. Danial joined the family business at the age of 21 after studying at the Kelley School of Business, Indiana Bloomington, and he made his first commission deal of USD $ 27 million at the age of 22. In 2008, he set up a 300,000 MT fertilizer plant in Haripur, Pakistan with a market value of USD $ 100 million. Thereon, he saw highs and lows of the Dubai real estate market with the crash of 2009 – 2012, wherein Danial successfully raised over USD $ 150 Million funding for development projects. In 2015 he delivered 1.65 Million Square feet of property in Dubai and invested in transport and fitness sectors. In the same year, he diversified investments into the US property market and UK property market. In 2017, with perfect timing, he sold a huge landbank in Dubai to an investor for a handsome profit in Dubai and began to focus on real estate development in Pakistan. His group carries a USD $ 2 Billion global portfolios. Danial Schon recalled: “At the Kelly School of Business, I ran two businesses, StudentServe LLC and J Alexander Couture, a fashion design label. It was a lot of fun and I loved the glamour of the fashion world. If I get another chance in the fashion world, I would love to go back. These businesses were done for fun, the money followed.” He is the President of Schon Group best known for his entrepreneurial skills in the real estate market. He is also serving as Honorary Consul-General for Guinea-Bissau in Karachi. Danial Schon made $25 Million when he cracked his first deal at the age of 21 and since then has grown the Schon Group development portfolio to over $2 Billion. Thereon, his business success stories are filled with peaks and troughs like every entrepreneur. He has faced his fair level of drama when the Dubai property market tanked in 2008. Danial stood his ground and restructured his businesses, delivered his project, and survived the recession. Momentarily, his full focus is on technology investments and real estate developments in Pakistan. Schon Group continues to move away from traditional sources to online channels, which have become more and more important not only for accessing but also acquiring the right talent. Danial has upheld the Schön family legacy of renowned entrepreneurs with his charismatic flair and leadership skills in the global business markets. As a Pakistani, young businesspeople like him are an asset to the country and are focused on promoting the brand of Pakistan globally in a positive manner. He added that Pakistan is the most undervalued technology market in the world. He commented: “Pakistan has a population of over 250 million persons, huge room for further mobile and internet penetration, and a population who is 65% under the age of 30. This growing young population makes Pakistan the biggest technology market to come in the world stage.” And at the helm of it all is the man himself, Danial built a property brokerage empire through sheer grit and a burning desire to reach the top of the ladder. Danial believes Pakistan has one of the world’s largest housing shortages of circa 11 million homes. “With a population growth rate of circa 5 Million people every year, this number only increases. Karachi, when compared to other metropolis’ with similar populations including Tehran, Mumbai, Delhi, is 90% cheaper on a price per square foot basis. Islamabad and Lahore are significantly undervalued. Pakistan’s upcoming Tier B cities in Sindh and Punjab specially are hugely undervalued and developing retail spaces in those cities is a great investment.” His advice to young entrepreneurs is firstly to never give up. “That is the most important quality of entrepreneurship. You will have ups; you will have downs. Just keep moving. Secondly, always give to get. And third, always focus on the focus. In life there are many distractions, many naysayers, many people telling you what to do; ignore them and just keep your end-goal in mind always, focus on the focus.” Schon added, “In recruitment, I believe “it’s the will, not the skill”, that matters the most. At Schon Group, we look at the potential of the person, his or her attitude, temperament and drive. At the same time, we have a strong emphasis on training and development. When it comes to skill set – whatever level someone enters the organization at – training, mentoring and guidance helps them to develop professionally. Character and ethics are the key as one of my favorite sayings by Warren Buffet is “You can’t make a good deal with a bad person.” He stated that company was created with a promise to its customers to operate with complete integrity and to uphold the highest industry ethics. The company ethos is based on the belief: “Better values, combined with better technology produces better results.” Danial is of the opinion that business is about creating win-win-win situations. “A true businessman creates an ecosystem where everyone benefits.” Talking about his spirituality, he said that he has been brought with strong values of helping others and be caring. “I am a practicing Muslim, and I believe that Allah has sent us here to worship Allah and to do good deeds to humanity. Fundamentally, that is our job description and our reason for being. Life is about helping others. During COVID times, I came to the revelation that 99% of our time is spent on selfish reasons which benefit us only, so I have set a goal to try and spend 50% of my time on philanthropy moving forward. We may give money for causes and to help others, but time is more important than money. Imagine if every human being started spending only 2 hours each day helping others, how would society be. My favorite quote is “The best of people are those who are most beneficial to people.”- Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).