You are one of the most successful entrepreneurs in Romania. Each has his/her success story. What was your first business and how did you start it? How did you start doing real estate? What inspired you?
Iulian Dascalu: I have started doing business in the early 90s, when I invested my personal economies in a stores chain specialized on shoes, than followed Iulius Commercial Centre in 1995 and Terra Commercial Centre in 1996.
I entered the malls business in 2000, with the opening of Iulius Mall Iasi, at that time the only commercial centre of mall type outside Bucharest and second in the country. The starting idea was to implement a new concept on the Romanian market, a „retail network” to make the clients to come back gladly, a mix of shopping, dining and entertainment whose rules were discovered and applied successfully, dozens of years ago in USA, one of the most developed market on retail segment.
The development of the first mall was definitely a challenge, a risk I took, as at that moment people was very sceptical, but I anticipated the huge market potential, and the following positive evolution of Iulius Mall network has confirmed my expectations. I did not invent a thing, just had the courage to adapt to the Romanian reality an occidental one.
It is said that you have exceptional leadership qualities and that people you lead in your group are following by conviction and passion. What are the ingredients? How did you manage it?
Iulian Dascalu: The force of a company lies in its team, and the goal of Iulius Group always was to form specialists, as well as in the field of leasing, marketing, administration, as in financial, juridical etc. The fact that many of the services specific to development and management of a mall weren’t outsourced and that the personnel is involved since the idea stage of a project, has significantly contributed to create the feeling of belonging to a common purpose. We do not only develop projects from scratch, but we position them on the market, we manage them or better said we ”raise” them as if they were our children. This is the policy I guide by and pass over to the management team, so its members feel they are working for their own company.
Did you have as an entrepreneur model a person to inspire you in your business?
Iulian Dascalu: I did not have a model to follow closely, but I admired and still praise certain businessmen, form our country or outside, which marked their evolution in business through originality, perseverance and courage. I haven’t been someone’s disciple, but there were persons to influence positively, in a larger or smaller proportion, my professional journey and helped me to focus my energy to what inspired me.
What are the premises for a business to become a success, in your point of view?
Iulian Dascalu: There is an entire literature teaching the steps towards success, but I am sceptical that someone might say that has discovered the recipe. After years of experience, I think that a healthy business concept, a valuable team, passionate and serious work are the premises of the success.
What are the main aspects that could endanger a business?
Iulian Dascalu: A business plan missing a realistic estimation of the market or based on the opportunities of the moment, not knowing in detail your business domain, a management team that is not well trained, not adapting to the market changes and much more.
How much of the business success owes to chance and how much owes to personal actions?
Iulian Dascalu: As I said, the business success is related mainly to the idea and work, a lot of hard work. OF course, there are situations when the business can register suddenly an evolution, influenced by a favourable context, but on short term. However the team actions and the realistic strategies are the fundament of a stable, healthy and mature business.
The chance, as you call it, can bring you in front of a person or a situation that opens new perspectives or approach angles of a situation. But, if you do not submit everything to the analyse and base your business on hazard, on favourable contexts, on speculations, your business will have the faith of a sand castle. (source: economiaonline.ro)