A former Air Force officer, Jerry Pradier was a B-52 pilot and education administrator for over 25 years. During his career as an Air Force manager and as an entrepreneur, concurrent with his career as an Air Force officer, he honed his management and supervisory skills. With these skills, he was recruited to reorganize and manage a fast growing security company that served the resort areas of western Colorado.
After achieving success in security, growing the company to be ranked the #55 security company in the U.S., he founded his own company, Progressive Business Development Network. Progressive Business Development Network specializes in business mentoring and coaching.
As president and founder of Progressive Business Development Network, LLC, Pradier is a business optimization expert. Known as “The Fixer,” he has the ability to analyze, evaluate and solve virtually any business problem presented to him. This skill was honed through more than 28 years of managing businesses including private, independent companies and large U.S. government organizations. This experience has helped him to be able to distill common problems that all businesses experience into common categories that can be solved using simple principles that most business owners and managers tend to overlook.
Additionally, Jerry Pradier is the President of Progressive Business Investment Network, LLC, a real estate investment company with holdings across the country. He is also the President of the Problem Solution Center, LLC, through which he provides mediation services.
Pradier is a renowned business trainer who presents workshops and seminars for various nonprofit and governmental organizations across the country. Pradier also hosts a business development TV program broadcast daily on Aspen, Colorado’s Grassroots TV.
As a staunch believer that professional success cannot be truly enjoyed unless one uses those skills and influence to help the larger community, Pradier is engaged in many volunteer organizations focused on improving the human condition. For example, he serves on the boards of True Media Foundation (Truemediafoundation.org), Colorado CASA (coloradocasa.org) and Institute for Civic Achievement (icainfo.org). He is also a restorative justice facilitator for YouthZone (youthzone.com) and a youth mentor for YouthEntity (youthentity.org).
What are you working on right now?
I am working on several projects:
- Guiding an entrepreneur through finalizing a business plan for a major retail outlet in the Denver area.
- Helping build out a business organization for a long-term client; a designer who has reached a high level of notoriety on a major TV shopping network.
- Creating a support group of successful entrepreneurs who help each other with ideas and encourage one another to achieve their life and professional goals.
- Writing my upcoming book that focuses on teaching proven and innovative sales techniques.
- Creating a CASA (www.casaforchildren.org) office in our local judicial district.
What does your typical day look like?
There are a few elements of my day that are typical. I believe that success comes to those who get a jump on others. Therefore, I start my days at 5:30 AM–or at 4:30 AM if I have early appointments. I start working in my home office 30 minutes after waking and spend the 1-5 hours on administrative tasks, writing and research on my book or newsletter (www.onlinebusinessknowledge.com). After this, I typically have my first appointments of the day or I will do my daily workout. My day generally ends at around 5:00-6:00 PM. I spend the evening on business tasks that accumulate during the day and on personal work until approximately 10:00 P.M. I spend time relaxing or reading until about 1:00 AM.
3 trends that excite you?
- The growth of social media and the opportunities it provides for leveraging marketing.
- The perennial trend of increasing entrepreneurship, especially among women. Since small business drives our national economy, the more small businesses increase, the better off we all are.
- The increasing realization that professional ethics is important in business, politics, science, medicine and the military. It has long been a priority in medicine and the military because these professions deal directly in life and death decisions. Its growing importance in other fields is encouraging.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I use three techniques for doing this:
- If I’m trying to envision a concept that is new to me, I start mind mapping to acquire a deeper understanding of concepts.
- I explore new and controversial ideas with my partner who is sure to challenge them and force me to justify or modify my ideas to make them better.
- When embarking on a business concept, I start by writing a business plan. I learned the value of planning as an Air Force pilot. The few times when I didn’t create a flight plan, the missions were not very successful. During 1 almost disastrous flight, I made a commitment to plan faithfully from then on. I believe that creating plans has helped me create successful businesses while I was in the Air Force and upon my retirement.
What inspires you?
Two things provide my most significant inspirations:
- Creating new businesses of my own companies or for clients.
- Mentoring teens in developing sophisticated business and sales skills. Their enthusiasm and ability to grasp sophisticated principles convince me that almost anyone can be taught to be successful in business.
What is one mistake you’ve made and what did you learn from it?
Wasting too much time trying to help a client who proved to be not willing try new and proven ideas when hers were not working. Despite the fact that she displayed the illness described by Albert Einstein (insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results), I thought I could change her modus operandi.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I encourage everyone to be willing to connect with anyone and everyone who makes a request on social media sites. If you’re in business, social media sites can be effective and low-cost marketing tools to grow your business. I have benefited from great collaborations with people around the world simply by being willing to add them to my contact lists when they make requests.
What do you read every day and why?
I start each day by reading my email because I get over 300 per day and need to run through them to determine their priority. I always read the local news because I need to keep track of businesses that I work with, or can potentially work with, so I am current on developments in their industries or on their projects. I also read business articles from many online sources to keep current with trends and new developments.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I must suggest my book, Financial Success: Ten Shortcuts to a Profitable Business, because it exposes many myths about business practices that many inexperienced entrepreneurs follow. Many entrepreneurs attempt to take the safe route by following the practices of their peers. It is the case of the blind following the blind. They end up wasting time and money because these conventional practices are not the best practices used by highly successful businesses.
What is your favorite gadget, app or piece of software that helps you every day?
My favorite low-tech gadget is my bicycle. I use it everyday for indoor spinning or outdoors to complement my daily weights and yoga workout. The bicycle gives me an opportunity to subconsciously work out business solutions while doing low-impact aerobic exercise.
Three people we should follow on Twitter, and why?
Silvia Pencak—@MagneticSilvia: a brand strategist supporting small businesses in building magnetic brands and growing them from where they are to where they can be.
Carrie Wilkerson—@barefoot_exec: a consultant and strategist for self-employed professionals and small business owners.
Brian Tracy Coach—@BrianTracyCoach: the creator of FocalPoint coaching.
Who would you love to see interviewed on IdeaMensch?
General Colin Powell, one of the most intelligent and successful leaders in recent years. He should have run for President of the U.S.
When is the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?
I laugh out loud frequently. Life and people are too funny not to be able to enjoy their foibles. I pity those who cannot laugh at themselves, others and life in general because they are missing so much fun. My last outburst occurred at lunch with a group of friends who meet regularly. One was telling us about a funny mistake he made marketing his business.
Why do you refer to yourself as a business mentor or coach rather than as a consultant?
There is a major difference between a business consultant and a mentor or coach. Unlike the role of a consultant, who generally comes in, analyzes a business situation and makes recommendations for change, I work with business owners and managers over longer periods of time, teaching them the skills they need to solve problems. I tend to work with startups and small business entrepreneurs who do not have the training, experience or support resources normally enjoyed by larger companies. I have the training and experience in virtually all areas of business management, allowing me to serve as a generalist in problem solving. Therefore, my services are more comprehensive and affordable.
To what do you contribute your personal growth and success?
I had the benefit of having a top-notch education starting in high school. It was there that I studied Latin, which honed my logic, communication and analytical skills. Later I majored in philosophy. My area of concentration was symbolic logic, which further developed my analytical skills, which help in solving all kinds of business and personal challenges.
Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.