Entrepreneur and executive Jeffrey Previte got an early start in business by creating Previte Landscaping and Irrigation in 1987, when he was still a teenager. Over the course of a decade, he built it from the ground up to become a profitable 30-employee enterprise offering comprehensive landscaping and irrigation services.
While still leading the company, Previte began studying at Boston College Carroll School of Management. The only blue-collar worker in the program at that time, he took night classes and worked during the day. He sold Previte Landscaping and Irrigation in 1998 and transferred to BC’s full-time MBA program, graduating the following year.
After receiving his MBA, Jeffrey Previte joined EBI Consulting and established its telecommunications practice as a market leader in engineering and environmental consulting to wireless industry clients. He achieved this via strategic growth initiatives, brokering relationships with prominent clients, and supporting EBI’s Environmental Health & Safety businesses. Previte’s success in growing the company’s telecommunications practice led EBI to adopt his consulting model for consulting businesses dedicated to higher education, life sciences, healthcare, and retail clients.
In addition to his work in these areas, Previte helped create wireless associations in California and New York and is the founder of the New England Wireless Association. He has also worked with the federal government, wireless carriers, architectural activists, and state-level historic preservation offices to create environmental standards of protection for constructing telecom infrastructure. He stepped down as co-CEO at EBI in 2020.
He now leads Previte Olive Oil, which he co-created in memory of his late grandfather, who originally sold olive oil door-to-door after immigrating to the United States from Italy. Beyond his business endeavors, Previte supports nonprofit organizations such as The Phoenix and AMBUCS through his family trust. In his free time, he enjoys cycling, hiking, skiing, and mountain climbing.
Where did the idea for your career come from?
EBI Consulting initially began as a biotech company developing an enzyme to inject into contaminated soil to degrade contamination. It morphed after a few years to a real estate consulting company as we discovered a need to assist companies with mergers and acquisitions, real estate purchases, site development, and redevelopment in an environmentally friendly manner while also reducing risk.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I get an EARLY start and go full throttle til an early bedtime! I try to include personal time as well as professional time every day, including EXERCISE, as clean a diet as I can, meditation, stretching, reading, and writing.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Through DOING! Diving in, trying to make ideas work, and figuring them out along the way. Creating a specific action plan and seeing it through to completion.
What’s one trend that excites you?
ESG—environmental, social, and corporate governance. It is everywhere, and it’s really why and what EBI Consulting was founded for and started doing nearly 30 years ago before ESG was a term.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Hard work and long hours…
What advice would you give your younger self?
Put in hard work and long hours. Do something that you don’t really notice is work.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Work harder, longer (and ideally smarter) than everyone else.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Create a work-life balance. Ride a bike. Clear your head. Refresh and dive in every day.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
I believe in recruiting, working with, and seeking out the best persons to be around me personally and professionally.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I have had three business unit failures. I put in long, hard hours over two, three, and five years with negative results. I pivoted, refocused, and got back to other, profitable business units where success was more likely.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
My dream next company will combine philanthropy and profits. Profitable philanthropy means creating self-sustaining and growing results to better the lives of all participants. For example, you might aggregate farmers in rural communities to sell their goods more profitably. The farmers win with increased pricing and the company can grow through the combined efforts.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I bought my mom a gift card. She would never spend $100 on COFFEE! So, I give it to her every year, and she is grateful for the little life indulgence. She was raised to not waste money, so she avoids frivolous things.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Insight Timer – This meditation app helps me focus and be accountable to taking the time to meditate daily.
WHOOP – This app helps me prioritize sleep.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen R. Covey. It is a must-read for all young business professionals.
What is your favorite quote?
It’s from the book listed above: “Begin with the end in mind.”
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.