It’s Cold Turkey: The Dish on Serving up More Taxes under Joe Biden – by Rick Andrade

November 2020 – As published by CEOWorld Magazine

They say that in late November 1621 in Plymouth, Massachusetts the first American Colony held the first American Thanksgiving to celebrate a bountiful harvest with the local Wampanoag Indian tribe. What you might not know is that of the nearly 100 who attended the first feast only 4 were women settlers. The reason so few attended is tragic and reflective in a modern Covid world. Of the 20 women Pilgrims who gallantly made the trip across the Atlantic to Plymouth on the Mayflower in 1620, all but these last 4 succumbed to either starvation, harsh winter cold, or more familiarly an infectious viral plague that struck the colony the year earlier. Still the idea to eat well and give “Thanks” after such an ordeal set promise to a brighter future in honor of those sacrifices, and to covet God’s word in scripture across much hope and prayer.

Today, 400 years later this Thanksgiving 2020 finds us all adding a bit more hope and prayer to the menu but this time we not only face a long cold winter and virulent plague, but also the dire prospect of a new plethora of increased economic pressures from a Democratic Party new president. Sound too harsh? Depends on which side of the fence you’re on. But if the electoral votes from each state are indeed certified accurate, Joe Biden is our next president, the 46th. And should that be the case, and a left-wing anti-business agenda takes hold of the U.S. government, the next big question from business owners and investors alike will be: Yikes! Now what…?

Like others before him President-elect Biden carries with him a full bag of sweeping democratic changes he wants to implement across the board including the Green New Deal, Medicare For All, and new Taxes.

For starters however, the first priority will be how to manage through the Covid pandemic. As cases surge across the country so does the race to roll-out two new vaccines each with 95% effective rates. My hope is that Biden who has been a politician all his adult life does not shut down the economy which in my view amounts to economic mass suicide.

The second will be Biden’s executive actions January 20th 2021, day-one. Recall the hundreds of Executive Orders issued by President Trump. Many orders changed industry regulations across the table including in politically sensitive areas like global warming, U.S. military engagement in the mid-east, fracking in Pennsylvania and lobster fishing in Maine. Dozens of changes made under Trump could easily be reversed under Biden with the stroke of a pen. But perhaps the biggest impact to small and medium size businesses that survive Covid through next year will stem from increased taxes and changes to healthcare coverage.

Business Taxes –  Under a President Biden the proposal on the table is to roll-back the Trump tax cuts and increase them from their current 21% back to 28% according to the latest report from the not-for-profit Tax

Personal Income taxes – Top bracket personal income tax rates are expected to increase from 37% back to 39.6% on income over $400,000, with few places to hide. Moreover, the plan in fact according to the Tax Foundation would actually reduce after-tax income for the average American worker by 2% by 2030. And while these are just the high-level figures, it gets much uglier if the Senate majority flips from Republican to Democrat (see Jan 5th 2021 Georgia Senate run-off race).

Capital Gains tax – The Biden plan will nearly double the tax on long term capital gains from 20% to 39.6% on income over $1 million (add another 3.8% net investment income tax if your adjusted gross income tops $250,000 for married couples). The Foundation also notes that raising the capital gains tax is less likely to increase federal revenues rather it will likely delay the sale of those assets until taxpayers find a less costly method. As a result, if the long-term capital gains tax rates do double as proposed the Tax Foundation further calculates an actual loss of $2 billion in annual revenues to the government, making this a bad idea.

Estate & Gift Taxes – Under Trump’s Tax Cuts & Jobs Act the gift & estate tax exemption threshold was $11.5 million for singles and $23 million for married filers. That will change. Under a Biden plan a dramatically lower exemption threshold for the first $3.5 million and a whopping 45% tax on assets above that is being proposed. Notwithstanding the step-up in “basis” the value after which a tax is imposed is eliminated, meaning new estate owners will pay higher taxes on the current market value of their assets. Yikes… Should democrats win a majority in Congress…  it will be open season for Wealth & Estate planners to come door knocking, and rightfully so.

Employee Health coverage – The Affordable Care Act (ACA- Obamacare) The Public Option –  In 2019 the Census Bureau reported an estimated 30 million in the U.S. were without healthcare. These figures among others have compelled the Biden-Sanders task force to propose that the U.S. government take center stage and majority control over citizen healthcare. Essentially the Biden plan wants to socialize medicine in the U.S. similar to Senator Bernie Sanders’ “Medicare for All,” while leaving in place private health insurance. The key changes will expand the ACA to allow everyone including undocumented workers access to federal premium subsidies to acquire health insurance on the ACA provider websites. The Biden plan also proposes to reinstate the “individual mandate” (case to be heard by the Supreme Court this winter) which was eliminated by the Trump administration, however at the same time the Biden plan will also increase federal subsidies to the poor who can’t afford it. Biden says the new ACA will cover an additional 25 million of the 30 million people uninsured.

But to make this all happen the Democrats would need to negotiate with a Republican Senate, unless the expected Senate race run-off in Georgia January 2021 as mentioned flips the Senate to a Democrat majority. What this means for small business and all business is obvious to me. Changes in healthcare are inevitable and usually end up costing small business owners in one way or another. In this case putting pressure on private insurance plans to stay competitive absorbing pre-conditions and doctor choice in the face of a giant new government-sponsored health system. This may leave many small business employers who like their current health insurance plans and who wish to keep high employees happy in the lurch with higher premiums, and with fewer affordable competitive private insurance plan choices than before.

Employee Minimum Wage – Under the Biden team economic plan there will be a strong push for a national minimum wage increase to $15/hour over the next few years. This despite outcries from small business owners in lower wage U.S. states and many economists who argue raising minimum wages will increase the burden on struggling small business profits creating fewer job openings at a time when we need more of them, not less.

And Finally: First things first – Where is the next Covid Stimulus & Response package?

As of mid-November, the outlook for a Covid vaccine has abruptly improved given both bio firms Pfizer and Moderna each separately announced their vaccines are ready, and are nearly 95% effective. Each compliments Trump’s Operation Warp Speed initiative for getting us to this point. Meanwhile, post-election there remains little evidence of yet another helping tranche (aka 4th stimulus package) estimated at another $2 Trillion including supplemental employment benefits, recovery rebates, and the popular PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) is emerging from Congress or the White House, as shutdowns loom and millions of small businesses and workers are still suffering this Thanksgiving. This makes welcome the spirited news that a Covid vaccine distributed over the next 6 months will likely help stem the tide of increasing Covid infections. Still, it seems unlikely any stimulus plan will get passed in an upcoming lame-duck session. But the general consensus among most reports is that Democrats are preparing a new measure that will be ready in January for the Senate and President Biden to sign, which unfortunately may be far too late for many businesses on the rocks and needing help.

Summary – Impact under Joe Biden

It seems almost inevitable that personal taxes, business taxes, capital gains, and estate taxes are all going up to some degree under a Joe Biden Presidency. Many promises were made, and new taxes appear the only way to pay for them. But that won’t happen until new laws are debated and passed next year. The good news is that in most cases any tax increase will not be retro-active giving you some time (likely until June 2021) to calculate the impact and make hard decisions. Many businesses may not survive Covid this winter, especially if harsh federal mandates further restrict business activities and push fragile business owners into a fatal financial tailspin. Other long-term asset owners will need to reshuffle their retirement plans including when and how to sell assets, transfer equity in a business, or cash out now and benefit from today’s substantially lower rates.

In either case, the key message is not to sit on your hands. These proposed Biden team tax increases if left unplanned for in the coming months could amount to tens of thousands or millions of dollars in added tax burdens for you or your heirs. My advice? Have your feast, but don’t get caught on the wrong side of the plate. After you read this, push back from the turkey table, grab your phone and schedule a call with your tax advisor, estate advisor, or wealth advisor. You’ll be glad you did.

And lastly, if you own a business and need advice on buying or selling call a trusted investment banker, he or she can help talk you through some of the options we are seeing in development and what other business owners are planning to do before year’s end. Getting professional advisors on board now can help you navigate the landscape well before the cold Biden left-overs leave you with a bad taste in your mouth.

Make sense?

Written by Rick Andrade.

The Post-Covid Business World: Survival of the Fittest or Fake News?

Sept 2020 – As published in CEO World Magazine: Rick Andrade.

In 1859 the English naturalist, geologist, and biologist we all know Charles Darwin published his most famous and influential work, On The Origin of Species based upon his study and research of the evolutionary traits found in nearly all plants and animals. He defined it as the “principle by which each slight variation [of a trait], if useful, is preserved.” And from this was coined the expression “Natural Selection” whereby in time even a slight random chance alteration to a plant or animal’s physical characteristics (aka genetic code) could essentially come to dominate the environment and displace the inferior genes of the same species.

Before Darwin’s book, most people didn’t pay much attention to how or why plants and animals physically changed in their attempts to thrive in an endlessly competitive life or death struggle to survive. But to Darwin the link between random genetic variants and their abundant success over prior generations left no doubt that under the right conditions nature would select the most adaptable and fittest of the group to thrive. Which got me thinking.

What’s most interesting about Darwin’s theory of Natural Selection is how twisted it compares to the unnatural artificial selection by governments, politicians and the media today, whereby only certain businesses are allowed to stay open while others face the dire consequences of an unmitigated shut-down and the prospects of extinction.

Of course, in Darwin’s research, Natural Selection took root over time as the genetic superiors with more adaptive traits displaced the inferiors. That makes sense. But today in the world of business, the pressures from politics and social media groups, rather than taking thousands of genetic reproductive lifecycles to bring into effect a species’ new advantage have instead amounted to a fait accompli for thousands of small business owners in a matter of months.

More urgently, right now in the face of the global pandemic nearly every business is facing some form of existential review. CEOs and business owners are not only busy surviving but also evaluating the big question. “Is this Covid-19 response thing going to put us out of business for good?” The short answer is… It could. So now what…

Redefining Natural Selection in a Post-Covid World

To Darwin, Natural Selection boiled down to a simple concept I can adopt and translate to the business world as Advantage vs Disadvantage. Essentially as any plant or animal that adapts faster or better accumulates more significant advantages to succeed, others unavoidably accumulate disadvantages and are left behind. We see this for example most distinctly every day in the Leisure, Hospitality and Food Industries fighting to survive. Fast food and quick serve venues for instance can use drive-thru and delivery services all the while accumulating Post-Covid customer advantages as social distancing rules reign. However, full-service sit-down restaurants that were forced to close in order to comply with social distancing rules continue to accumulate disadvantages, and are thus most un-naturally de-selected from the group, and from making a living, a distinction prospectively in violation of their Constitutional rights. Nevertheless, the question then becomes: Is forced extinction avoidable? And the answer is Yes. But it requires more fortitude. And here’s what I mean.

After World War I, American Gi’s returning from Europe brought back with them a vicious unseen enemy, The Spanish Flu. Like Covid-19, it too was highly contagious and infected nearly 500 million people and killed 50 million people worldwide according to reports. But despite 3 waves of Spanish Flu from 1918-1920 mostly concentrated in larger U.S cities at the time, by the summer of 1919 the pandemic had already largely run its course. Sound familiar? In fact, by the spring of 1920 Babe Ruth started playing for the New York Yankees to a packed stadium, and by mid-decade F. Scott Fitzgerald had published The Great Gatsby which would usher in the “Roaring Twenties” leaving far behind any permanent artifacts of a deadly virus that killed millions only a few years earlier.

By contrast Covid-19 today while deadly is a mere fraction of the Spanish Flu in every way. As of this writing less than 900,000 people have died from this disease globally, and less than 200,000 in the USA. Is that Bad? Yes. But tragically historic it is not compared to the 1918 pandemic according Covid Tracker. And if Americans can quickly recover from the Spanish Flu in 1918 with little medical help, we can certainly conquer this disease even faster one hundred years later, no?

Meanwhile there are abundant signs everywhere that people are venturing out and about especially in states that are re-opening, albeit wearing masks in most.  But that too I suspect will pass as it did a century ago. This leaves us in a post-Covid world of humans that will likely most desire to expeditiously return to the way things were before if they can, and not become mask-wearing plexiglass-protected anti-socialites. But that won’t happen if state and local governments don’t come to their senses and immediately allow businesses to re-open. Because if they don’t, it may turn out that the “cure” for Covid was the real killer, and not the disease.

In their recent Covid-19 economic impact report the small business listing service Yelp reported more than 72,000 businesses out of 132,000 that temporarily closed across the country have now shuttered permanently due to unnecessary forced closures and social distancing rules. But what the report also shows is that customers are lining up, eager to return to normal when businesses re-open given the chance. This lends credence to my view that governmental and media reaction to Covid continues to drive home a precipitous over-reaction to this disease, which has consequently put far more industries, small businesses, and millions of good jobs unnecessarily at risk.

Still, none of this addresses the time value of the problem. And in many cases the media and big business want us to believe that the Coronavirus is here to stay, forever. And that all businesses must comply and change, as if the Sun will never rise again, Yankee stadium stays dark, and “resistance is futile.” But forced to adapt and evolve to accommodate a pretentious and unaccountable exaggeration of what was normal so as to permanently redefine our economic and cultural reality overnight is off the charts to me. Because by allowing redundant voices to contemporize this disease as a “permanent pandemic,” leaves you and thousands of other CEOs and business owners with only one reckless option, to keep up and spend all you can to permanently invest and protect your customers from Covid, regardless of the costs or prospects for a vaccine on the horizon, or else be targeted, shamed and most un-naturally de-selected?

After 9-11 we all asked the question “should there be changes?” And the right answer was Yes. But not under the rulings and regulatory over-reach of big city governments and social media pressures to conform to the highest levels of safety or else! That type of draconian shut-down approach gives little thought to the real impact of the virus on small business finances and employment in this country, which will in time more likely result in the death of more jobs than people. In other words, instead of the virus becoming another forgotten pandemic piece of history, today the media and government prefer to artificially create their own Covid-19 un-Natural Selection committees to then select which businesses will survive, and which go under. This is still America, isn’t it?

So how do you avoid becoming Extinct?

Unnatural or not, there is a way to beat the odds stacked against you. While some industries may need to permanently change like the Airline industry did post 9-11, most industries in my view will return to pre-Covid conditions and consumers will appreciate that return to normal including sit-down restaurants and baseball games. Having said that, with  several bio-pharma companies feverishly competing to swiftly formulate a global Covid vaccine, in the meanwhile the best thing any business can do is to simply SCALE BACK your business activity to BREAK-EVEN, look to find products that will sell during a pandemic, preserve cash flows, and remediate for Covid compliance and customer safety. But only as much as needed to sustain the business on a temporary basis. The more you consider this pandemic as a business interruption event, the more your chances of survival will improve. The key is to get through the event as the “re-opening process” continues and things return to more normal conditions, which is happening. Even at this writing, passenger air travel has doubled from an average 400,000 passengers in June/day to 800,000, its highest level since the pandemic began despite being only 1/3 normal.

Which brings us to the bottom line. Survival of the fittest. As long as your customers remain Covid-happy and understanding you should too. And together we’ll all get through this. In the meantime, guard your checkbook. Because you don’t have to re-invent the wheel, and you don’t have to hysterically over-spend on “everything that must be Covid-compliant” or comply with every social media reflex. Don’t let survivability be dictated to you. Now is the time for strong leaders to make sensible plans, not to fall prey to hyperbole.

If we can simply remind ourselves that in 1918 the Spanish Flu trailed off quickly, as Americans soon developed herd immunity and the antibodies needed to end the pandemic in less than two years. The Covid virus even without a vaccine has the same pattern, but is nowhere near as deadly as the Spanish Flu. So, let’s rightfully take charge of this Chicken Little event and remove fake news hysteria from the equation. Tell them to return Darwin’s theories back to the pages of evolutionary natural selection where they belong. Maybe then given the freedom to control our own destinies and decisions we can lift our companies back up on our feet, regain our balance, and like the Great Gatsby hit the dance floor like it’s the “roaring twenties” again.

Who’s with me?

About the author: Rick Andrade is an investment banker at Janas Associates in Pasadena, where he helps CEOs buy, sell, and finance middle-market companies. Rick earned his BA and MBA from UCLA, along with his Series 7, 63, & 79 FINRA securities licenses. He is also a CA Real Estate Broker, a volunteer SBA/SCORE instructor, and blogs at on issues important to middle-market business owners. He can be reached at Please note this article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered in any way an offer to buy or sell a security. Securities are offered through JCC Advisors, Member FINRA/SIPC

Covid-19 Creates Surprise Sellers’ Market for Owners

“Energy and persistence conquer all things.” -Benjamin Franklin

At the height of the Great Recession back in 2007-2009 the financial crisis that precipitated the economic decline and market sell-off was largely driven by a collapse in real estate mortgages and other financials derivatives linked to bank lending. And while some link the recent Corona Virus of 2020 to The Great Recession they are not the same. And here’s why it’s important if you considered selling your business this year but have pulled back.

The Great Recession was a financial crisis causing a near collapse of our banking system, and when banks fail, the economy is not far behind, we all know this.  But this crisis as we also all know is a health scare crisis, not a financial one, and before the government and states closed down our economy, we were the envy of the globe, a shining star leading with record low unemployment, and record high private business asset valuations. To say the least, things were good. But then everything changed, or so we thought.

What’s interesting is that while we have seen an initial slowdown in 2020 M&A deal activity at the beginning of the crisis as many unknowns lingered, most of the slowdown was brief. Once buyers and sellers got familiar with working remotely together using Zoom for meetings and real-time online software for data exchange, the market demand for M&A deals swiftly returned. What we now see is an explosion of new buyer inquiries greater than the post Financial Crisis period which ended more than 10 years ago. In fact, to our surprise in the last 3 months since the initial pandemic lockdown Janas team associates have collectively received hundreds more emails, newsletters, phone calls and texts from well-funded buyers each looking to eagerly compete for seller opportunities.

But how can the market turn up so quickly?

According to recent industry studies from respected sources like Axial, Pitchbook and Bloomberg, that tract M&A activity regularly Private Equity funds are sitting on a record $1.5 Trillion dollar pile of cash coming into 2020 with every dollar looking for a home. And what makes it so sticky is that if equity funds don’t deploy that cash, they may lose access to it permanently. Greater still, and unlike the Financial Crisis in 2008, bank lenders today are far healthier and eager to assist PE firms, and us with deal flow lending adding even more fuel to the market fire. So, what does this mean to you?

It means that seller Exit Plans which included selling a private business this year but got put on hold during the pandemic are each welcome back to the table, with buyers lined up waiting to make a competing offer like never before for a chance to acquire your business. And that’s the surprise no one had expected during this health crisis. Many sellers who delayed plans to engage their investment banker and Exit the business until after the Covid-19 pandemic subsided, didn’t expect the current market’s bursting buyer demand would make their business more attractive not less in the months ahead. And the reason as we are told is simple. Buyers understand that most businesses took a Corona Virus hit to sales and profits this year.

But they also understand that most businesses will stage a comeback in early 2021. This means you can still engage to sell your business starting now at a higher price. For example, when you engage Janas to market your company we will work with you step by step to specifically identify Covid-related expenses and isolate them. Buyers will gladly look forward to future sales and profit run rates as if the virus never happened.

In summary, our point is simple. Despite the pandemic, with the growing abundance of investment capital looking to acquire your business, it makes perfect sense to take a closer look at your Exit plan, if you have one, and give us a call. If you trust good advice check your calendar, and let’s set up a quick Zoom call or phone chat. We can tell you in 5 minutes exactly what we’re seeing and hearing from the field and why our firm believes Exiting a business now is still the golden ticket for you and the important stakeholders in your life. Because it’s like Ben Franklin said; “Energy and persistence conquer all things.”  So, let’s do this thing.

Rick Andrade

About the author: Rick Andrade is an investment banker at Janas Associates in Pasadena, where he helps food CEOs buy, sell, and finance middle-market companies. Rick earned his BA and MBA from UCLA, along with his Series 7, 63, & 79 FINRA securities licenses. He is also a CA Real Estate Broker, a volunteer SBA/SCORE instructor, and blogs at on issues important to middle-market business owners. He can be reached at Please note this article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered in any way an offer to buy or sell a security. Securities are offered through JCC Advisors, Member FINRA/SIPC. 

Dear Diary: Can Covid-19 help me become a better leader?

As published in CEO World Magazine – June 2020

“A noble man compares and estimates himself by an idea which is higher than himself”― Marcus Aurelius

One day everything’s normal, the next we’re in the middle of a global pandemic. Not since 1918 has the world mobilized to fight such a common invisible foe. And back then as now many would-be leaders were compelled for the first time to dig deep, step up, and lead with the strength of an intrepid warrior.

Today, whether you are the CEO of a Fortune 500 company or CEO of your home and family we’re all in the same fight against this Great Virus. And given the uncertainties of our decisions we will undoubtedly question ourselves, doubt ourselves and search for ways to manage our daily affairs better. But we may also recognize that in troubled times we can also learn important things about ourselves, and in turn use this challenging opportunity to reflect, adjust and emerge a better, more insightful person and leader. And the best way to see the forest through the trees and help improve upon your personal performance in a crisis according to experts is to get in touch with your inner self-expression by keeping a Personal Journal.

Outward self-expression is nothing new. There are many forms from art to science. Personal self-expression via clothing, jewelry, footwear and body-art have been a hallmark of mankind since the dawn of human existence. But what of the mind of the creators of written self-expressive forms? Do creators of personal literary artifacts learn from their creations? How does it matter really? Have you ever wondered what people who self-express in written form truly gain from it? You be the judge.

By the time of his death in 180 AD Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius had long learned and appreciated the benefits of writing down his personal thoughts as a conscientious leader, soldier and philosopher of his day. His posthumous 12 books of the Meditations are well studied for their keen observational insights the introverted emperor pondered and recorded over the many campaigns he waged during his 20 year reign. Perhaps like many great leaders today Aurelius was a complex blend of deep influences. As a Stoic Philosopher common of the day he imbued as an acute and persistent inner quest a rare yearning for self-development. And he learned that finding quiet time to journal his thoughts provided a therapeutic activity of mind and hand to reflect and to take note of his most poignant perspectives, even when they conflicted. Far ahead of his time the Roman conqueror saw the benefits to inscribing his thoughts as an essential part of understanding and developing who he was as a man and a leader. To Marcus Aurelius admittedly keeping a personal diary (or journal) was his way to perpetually self-evaluate and improve himself, a form of hand-written meditation.

Of course, the earliest known written personal form of self-expression is still the ubiquitous Diary. Historically, the diary by definition is a simple daily scribing of chronological events. Over time as personal observations were naturally added as narrative to the text a diary became a personal diary, and from there a Personal Journal which is less about chronology and more about jotting down personal feelings to accompany observations of a particular event or subject.

The earliest known personal diaries with commentary narrative tended to be travelogues. The first written travelogue ever identified and to have survived as such came from the Chinese philosopher and writer Li Ao in the year 809 AD while on a trip through southern China with his then pregnant wife, a detailed account which survives today.

However, in western culture the earliest English written account as a chronological personal record is from Thomas Beckington in 1442 as King’s emissary documenting his 6-month journey from England to France to help arrange the marriage of King Henry VI to the niece of King Charles VII of France. A dreadful endeavor we now know from extraneous personal letters. Flipping through the text you immediately take note of its chronological nature and limited personal reflections. That made this personal diary an effort hardly the self-reflective learning tool it could have been. While Beckington was keeping his personal diary, he was also composing letters wherein he struggled to express and alleviate his truer deeper frustrations during the trip. Given the chance to self-address and work through persistent personal and political ambiguities his keeping of a diary missed the golden opportunity to settle his mind and arbitrate his opposing views.

Enter contemporary times… wherein the best of both diaries and journals have combined into one blended form. Of the most notable accounts in modern history we benefit from today include the written words, drawings, figures and formulas of Albert Einstein, Charles Darwin, Lewis & Clark, Madame Curie, Winston Churchill, Thomas Edison, Nelson Mandela, Richard Branson, and of course, Oprah Winfrey who started journaling when she was 15 years old and claims “Keeping a journal will absolutely change your life in ways you’ve never imagined.”

The Personal Journal as a Personal Learning Coach

Despite its rich history and promising rewards, however, journaling seems to be a lost art for most people. But not for everyone. Virgin Group founder Richard Branson has long been journaling and carries a little notebook with him as he goes about his day to make regular hand notes of his thoughts and feelings as they occur to him. The idea is to learn from your own thoughts. “Don’t just take notes for the sake of taking notes,” he says, “go through your ideas and turn them into actionable and measurable goals.” Good advice.

Dan Ciampa a former CEO of his own consulting firm kept a 12-year personal journal and has authored 5 books on CEO leadership. He advises CEOs today on how important it is to replay events in your day. Because “while the brain records and holds what takes place in the moment…the learning happens after the fact during periods of quiet reflection.” And Marcus Aurelius would agree if only more people everywhere kept a personal journal and referred to it frequently, perhaps we’d have a higher understanding of the importance and positive effect this form of self-expression provides to advancing personal development and enabling better decisions across all of humanity, especially in times of crisis.

So why is keeping a personal journal so effective?

According to research there are many tangible benefits to journaling as mentioned, but other benefits while less tangible are more significantly ethereal. Experts cite three such benefits commonly overlooked to journaling:

  • It provides a chance to slow things down, meditate and be contemplative.
  • It provides a chance to ask yourself insightful questions like: What biases might be influencing my actions and decisions?
  • It provides a chance to allow the connection between mind, body, and spirit to add voice to your introspective opinions.

Getting started

Once you commit to keeping a personal journal the steps to getting started are super easy:

  • Buy a paper journal. While digital-online journals are handy. They are not always better.
  • Create a Personal Quote on your title page that summarizes your reason for keeping a journal eg) I write this journal to myself and no-one else with the intent to document and explore my observations as…
  • Find a quiet place to settle your mind regardless of where you are.
  • Start with the basics of your observations – who, what, where, when, and add the ‘why.’
  • Try to get in the habit of journaling as often as possible and within 24hrs of an observation.

How to approach your writing

  • Be self-reflective – consider how you feel emotionally & why.
  • Be balanced in your evaluation of people, and projects, not too critical not too kind.
  • Discuss how things are developing good vs bad, pro vs con.
  • And finally ask yourself — How can I get better at this?

In summary, what I’m trying to communicate to you is that keeping a journal or personal diary is a proven self-awareness, self-evaluation tool any person can adopt and benefit from. The chance to organize your thoughts into a written narrative that pulls together all aspects of experience and expression is a key best practice these days. The thinking is that while the stresses of a Covid-19 world create lingering unknowns, keeping a personal journal provides a way to not only quietly reflect, but also blow off steam and help relieve the stresses of the day. It’s helped me. Keeping a personal journal allows me to summarize my observances more cerebrally from many points of view, un-edited. And by doing so I can develop new points of view, and often discover new paths through critical problems and that has made me a more confident and actionable leader in my view.

Lastly, when you think about it… now is when the people who count on you the most need the most from you. And so, when you think of the bright side what better time than a global crisis is there to learn another way to reach deep inside yourself and pull your inner voices together and down onto a waiting page. Or as Emperor Marcus Aurelius put it “Our life is what our thoughts make it.” And journaling is our thoughts. So, grab your pen… and let’s journal-down on this crisis.


About the author: Rick Andrade is an investment banker at Janas Associates in Pasadena, where he helps CEOs buy, sell and finance middle market companies. Rick earned his BA and MBA from UCLA along with his Series 7, 63 & 79 FINRA securities licenses. He is also a CA Real Estate Broker, a volunteer SBA/SCORE instructor, and blogs at on issues important to middle market business owners. He can be reached at Please note this article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered in any way an offer to buy or sell a security. Securities are offered through JCC Advisors, Member FINRA/SIPC.

The Great Lock Down: A Few CEO Resources to Help

Six weeks ago in mid February 2020 the world was different. The bright economic prospects in the U.S. for another year of expansion and growth seemed inevitable. Employment was at record highs, business and consumer confidence was strong, and GDP was forecast to grow at a healthy 2% for 2020. The expectation was that the roaring 1920s were back!

But then came the Corona Virus (Covid-19) which lurked in the wings, and has in 6 weeks spread across the world and turned a robust global economy into dust overnight, and has left in its wake thus far more than 2.2 million people infected, 147,000 dead, and it’s not over according to daily live tracking statistics.

To make matters worse as of today, mid-April 2020 if you haven’t been living on Mars, maybe you should be. Because most U.S. state orders are for businesses to close and citizens to stay at home, work from home, and not go out unless you have a darned good reason to. And as a consequence the U.S. went from gaining 200,000 jobs per month to losing nearly 22 million in the last several weeks alone. Nothing like this has ever had such an enormous impact on labor since the Great Depression. It’s unreal, or surreal like a zombie apocalypse movie. And regardless of how many times I try to wake up, I can’t because it’s not a dream. And for now this new reality for CEOs and business owners may not forecast increased sales, but rather increased bankruptcies.

Enter the US Government to the rescue

In response to this health-driven crisis many governments around the world have braced for impact, all hoping to ease the economic crash by injecting trillions of dollars into their respective economies. The U.S. in response recently passed the $2 Trillion dollar Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES) … to help fund payrolls and other operating expenses for 2.5 months for small businesses. The hope is to help shore up small business until the crisis passes. Sounds scary, and it is.

As a consequence, managing or owning a business has thus gone from approaching a paradise in February 2020 to Hell in March and going forward a living nightmare if your business was forced to close until further notice.

To help, I already reviewed dozens of webinars, newsletters, articles and websites over the past 3 weeks and found a few that I believe can really help cut through the haze and focus on how to specifically get aid to your business and keep you afloat. Check these out:

  • CEO Coaching Int’l group: Navigating the Crisis with access real-time CEO advisors:

This CEO Coaching Int’l group brings together CEOs offering free time to discuss your particular Covid-19 situation and offer some resourceful tools and ideas.

Best Advice

From my experience the key performance exercise is creating a detailed CASH FLOW PLAN for the next 6-12 months. Minimizing outflows and using the government loan and forgiveness programs to ease the pain. So if you haven’t taken advantage yet, better get started asap. Many will qualify for relief, but fewer if you don’t act fast. Second is to gather your executive team and external advisor including your CPA, Attorney and Banker. Everyone needs to be on the same page and follow your business crisis & continuity plan. This is your moment to shine through as a strong leader with a keen foresight and a keen ability to communicate to your staffers how the company will navigate through this existential crisis like no other. Until then… please stay well, stay strong, and stay together. There is light at the end of the tunnel.

Rick Andrade

E.S.G. (Environment, Social & Governance) 2020. Here’s what you need to know

Headline: Davos, Switzerland – World Braces for Climate Doom.

On January 21st, 2020, 3000 attendees including top leaders from governments, institutions, and industries from around the world gathered at the 50th World Economic Forum(WEF) in Davos, Switzerland to share and influence the trajectory of humankind. Once again as they have for the last 5 decades these leaders came ready to tackle this year’s topic: Stakeholders for a Cohesive and Sustainable World. And this time the lion’s roar centerstage was climate change, including Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) inclusive within a broader spectrum framework known as ESG (Environment, Social, and Governance). Like the World Economic Forum itself, ESG is essentially an amalgamated group of key stakeholder issues that demand remediation, especially given the impact human endeavors are having on the planet and each other up to now.  So, let’s take a closer look at what’s working, and what isn’t.

ESG as a concept is not new. In theory it stems as far back as human ethical behavior goes. One could argue that among the very first notable rules governing good Social behaviors are ages old. The idea was to teach us how to live together and prosper without destroying ourselves. The basic rules of Social life. The Ten Commandments were among the first proliferated as such I could argue, mostly S and G, but still an early endeavor to curb the temptation of human vice, including sex, alcohol, gambling and usury among others. But a lot has changed. While ‘Western’ religions of old warned that to indulge in these vices earned you a one-way ticket to the gates of Hades, today’s regulatory sanctions out of Washington and elsewhere have a bit less bite, and certainly not the gruesome feared spectacle of life in the underworld just yet. But that too is changing as more stakeholders demand accountability and measurement progress at Davos.

The latest in the race to Measure ESG

Unlike ‘Scoring ESG’ companies, discussed later, what and how to ‘Measure ESG’ comes first. And to date like Scoring ESG there is no standardized agreement across the board to agree on. Still, despite these challenges organizations are trying to pull together a framework. The International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC), the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and the Task Force for Climate Related Disclosure (TCFD) are each working to help enterprises identify and measure specific accounts, but they aren’t working closely enough together. Enter the US-based Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB). The SASB is a non-profit adjunct to the Financial Accounting Standards Board which in this case serves as a provider of materially significant measurable and reportable ESG category “standards” for 77 industries to 3rd party ESG scorers like State Street Global Advisors and MCSI Research.

But while the SASB makes headway to identify and standardize ESG impact metrics and disclosure standards across the board, the majority of the calls for action to-date are driven by climate change, aka the E in Environmental issues as notably exemplified by rising waters in Florida, poor air quality in China, and the catastrophic fires raging in Australia to name a few. These among others altogether, perpetuated by news and Social Media reporting over the last few years are now the central investment thesis for a growing list of climate and sustainability-minded investors looking to identify and differentiate ESG-signatory from non ESG-signatory companies. But despite all the pressure and ambitious talk the pace of adoption is horrendously too slow for climate-change activists like 17yr-old Swedish climate-change activist and Davos speaker Greta Thunberg who lambasted:

“From a sustainability perspective the Right, Left and Center (political landscapes) have all failed… or worse empty words that give the impression action is being taken.”

Voices like Thunberg’s magnify the urgency to act, not on which SDGs should be met, but rather over what period of time. Time being the most important component of any key decision or choice at hand. But despite the urgent need to take action by all stakeholders to stem the tide from climate change aka global warming, even the World Economic Forum’s own request that each attendee at Davos this year commit to becoming a net-zero carbon emitter by 2050 is way too late for the likes of Ms. Thunberg, who is calling for the end to fossil fuel emissions now. Adding lift to the growing warning signs CEO Larry Fink of investment firm BlackRock declared in an open letter to all CEOs recently that his firm has committed to dis-invest from thermal coal producers by the end of this year. BlackRock manages more than $7 trillion in assets for clients which puts Fink’s statement noticeably on the front page of financial news sites across the globe, marking a significant milestone to the climate impact of E in ESG at Davos.

So then what’s the hold up? Why can’t governments and companies all agree on ESG standards & goals?

The Devils in the Scoring

A few firms have undertaken the enormous task to measure and score ESG impacts at the company level. Some look at Risk, some look at actual spending and savings if available. But all are trying to make an effort to quantify that which can be measured effectively at this stage. Three good examples of monitors and ESG data tracking scorers are:

  • State Street global – uses SASB framework to create a Responsibility (r)- factor for each company analyzed, and uses the r-factor as a score-measure of ESG engagement vs exposure.
  • MSCI ESG Research – (Morgan Stanley Capital International) calculates a risk profile scale spread from AAA (ESG Leader) to CCC (ESG Laggard). This score card helps investors understand where a particular company is on the spectrum.
  • Harvard – Impact Weighted Accounts  – new accounting measurements and reporting standards in development to translate all ESG categories into measurable currency that can consistently, across all industries, measure the ESG accounting impact on a company’s financial statements.

For each of these notable data collectors and scoring companies there are many more looking to cash in on the ESG (Measurement & Disclose) bandwagon. High Scoring ESG companies tend to have greater flexibility in overall macro industry risks like less exposure to higher future energy costs, human capital, and waste. At the ground level early reports indicate companies with high ESG scores have less staff turnover, a lower cost of capital, and tend to save more money via operating efficiencies, reduced input/output waste and reduced overhead costs. By contrast lower Scoring ESG companies may (for a time) operate more profitably as measured by their quarterly EPS, but in the next decade ahead the 2020s may see them fall significantly behind the cost curve as compared to their higher ESG  scoring competitors, and potentially force them to close up shop, or merge with a higher-scoring ESG player.

Lastly, how to measure the financial impact of ESG issues on a company’s financial performance. Currently only two methods are gaining traction, one is the R-Factor (Responsibility Factor) created by State Street Global Advisors for fund sponsors like Bloomberg ESG indices. It uses the SASB framework of ESG categories per industry and weights each company subjectively on how it responds to the SASB outlined issues. The other is Harvard’s Impact-Weighted Accounts Initiative (IWAI). The approach here is to standardize an accounting process that adds an impact measure of risk to each company’s accounting system to produce a second set of books that reflects the monetized impact of ESG efforts, rather than an ESG scoring method. It all seems to be coming together, right?

But there are Skeptics

Because the troubles with ESG measuring and monitoring is getting agreement on such things. Everyone is working on the E-Environment because it’s frontpage news, and more straightforward. As it stands now, however, given the several dispersed ESG-related groups and the breath of the ESG landscape for what and how to measure the financial impact on a particular company over another is still considered the wild west frontier out there. Measuring S & G issues is far from identifying a coherent path forward because Social and Governance issues are less directly connected to a company’s financial performance, and thus by no means a slam dunk for CEOs to implement. So why not just lay low? Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett has remained on the ESG sidelines for example, averting any material commitment thus far. Perhaps because heavy industry and manufacturing companies in general have the deck stacked against them at the outset, especially to reduce their carbon footprint, a far harder effort at a large refinery like Chevron burning off waste fumes than at a large retailer like Walmart, re-stocking shelves. This ESG industry impact gap and the underlying mismatch of ESG data collected, measured, and disclosed is what mostly troubles adopters across the globe at Davos.

In fact, in its ESG Guidelines report BlackRock for example identifies (3) key challenges ESG data collectors & monitors face including:

  1. Reliance on self-reported data to questionnaires and industry bodies. Company disclosed information is sparse and disparate across industries and regions. The reliance on self-reported data to private aggregators allows companies to disclose favorable data or opt out completely. Furthermore, there is no accountability or overarching governing body ensuring accuracy of reported information.
  • Inconsistent collection, management, and distribution of ESG data. ESG data is collected, managed, and dispersed by multiple data providers and is not easily accessible to all investors in a standard form. This creates a challenge for investment professionals attempting to systematically compare companies across industries and regions, either in real time or over historical time periods.
  • Disparate approaches to measure and report ESG information to investors. Due to different methodologies and disclosures, index providers and asset managers report ESG considerations inconsistently, creating challenges for investors seeking to compare ESG investment strategies, objectives and outcomes consistently.

This disconnect between investors’ desires for reliable ESG disclosures and how to do it has corporate boardrooms on edge and a little uneasy. In fact, according to a recent PwC Annual Corporate Directors Survey roughly 1 in 3 corporate board directors think institutional investors should devote less attention to some ESG issues, like Board Ethnic, Gender & Racial Diversity, Environmental, and Social & Sustainability Issues. Directors argue they are already handling ESG issues as components of Risk Management, Business Continuity or IT Security plans. Hence many enterprises feel they already have many of these ESG issues under control, and don’t need to extend their transparency for any good reason. And there’s the rub. On the one hand investors want to see ESG metrics far more than corporate executives want to show them because corporates are concerned that ESG measures could negatively impact the value of their capital stock in the public markets. Thus, begging the age-old question; ‘why introduce another layer of competitive performance metrics unless you’re forced to’? Still however, CEOs are eager to stay ahead of the growing populist ESG movement and to engage the sustainability culture sweeping across the globe.

So. What should CEOs do now?

The answer depends on your appetite for short termism vs long termism. And that’s the message from Davos, BlackRock and the new Business Roundtable announcement last August. Wherein the leaders of nearly 200 US-based corporations pledged to include their “stakeholders” as well as their “stockholders” in their profit motives going forward.

Nonetheless, if ESG is a new concept to you. Yikes! You’re behind the curve. So start with an ESG Assessment. Don’t sit on your hands and wait for it to go away. It won’t. If you wait around, eventually investment dollars will dry up as investment funds (public and private) add layers of benchmark ESG rankings & scores to compare companies to one another. Fall too far behind (public or private company) and it will catch up to you at some point, and when it does there will be few places to hide anymore. So Step one: review your industry guidelines in the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB).  

Step two, hire a Chief ESG Officer to create and champion an ESG effort and roll-out plan sending a strong message to show the public and all stakeholders of your elevated efforts to embrace ESG issues, and to concentrate your metrics-tracking and disclosure/reporting functions into a single head. The new C-ESG executive can report directly to the CFO’s office or the Board of Directors to ensure proper accountability and disclosure. The idea is to provide investors with more transparency into your progress on ESG issues asap.

Q: What will ESG Cost?

A: It’s all about the ‘Long Term Value Creation Story’

At the company level ESG implementation costs obviously vary widely from tens of thousands for Solar installs, to tens of millions to remediate a coal-burning power plant. But cost is relative to time. Pay now or pay later. When is later? According to climate change advocates and activists of the same mind costs are in the trillions so the time is now, while there’s still a good story to tell. In support, former IBM CEO Sam Palmisano said recently that ESG has to be part of your brand, “not just a timely project initiative.” The value creation story argument is that in the long run value is increased as consumers and stakeholders only patronize brands synonymous with ESG, and won’t patronize non-ESG firms. And over time those left behind will suffer a huge catch-up investment requirement potentially causing a significant valuation-decline from their industry peers. Can you measure that? It won’t be easy or straightforward. Best advice is simply to get started down the path and learn from others along the way.

Walmart Case Study

Safe to say that recent concerns about abrupt climate change issues largely focus on contemporary pressures to reduce greenhouse gases by lowering a company’s fossil fuel energy use aka carbon footprint. For example, a transportation trucking firm should buy all electric vehicles, a large manufacturer and heavy coal consumer should add more solar/wind resources, and food industry packaging providers should recycle their own packaging, and pledge to clean up the growing plastic waste problem, etc. And there is a good story to be told there. But ESG goes far further, into the future, and offers far greater rewards to ESG adopters who can gain the public trust telling a compelling ESG-friendly story.

Walmart is a good example of taking ESG seriously. The company has a CSO (Chief Sustainability Officer) who manages a Working Group (as shown) the hub of several corporatewide ESG initiatives that impact many corporate functions across their entire enterprise ecosystem, and externally as well across their stakeholder landscape from supplier sustainability mandates to power consumption. And given its $500 Billion in global annual revenues and 2.2 Million employees (1.5M in the U.S.) implementing an institution-wide ESG program has a corresponding widespread network influencer effect. In their 2019 ESG Report Walmart cites the importance it gives to ESG issues:

[ESG practices can enhance customer trust, catalyze new product lines, increase productivity, reduce costs and secure future supply, while simultaneously improving livelihoods, advancing economic mobility and opportunity, reducing emissions and waste, and restoring natural capital.]—

Now that’s a mouthful. The company not only clearly recognizes and embraces its leadership role to set a good example for other companies to follow, but also actually moves the needle on specific measures for employees, customers, suppliers and all stakeholders, which by order of magnitude includes millions of people across the globe. Being a first mover, or early adopter incorporating ESG into the fabric or the business whose growth strategy embraces rather than side-steps ESG is likely a successful approach.

Are ESG-embracing Companies like Walmart “worth” more?

Is Walmart stock worth more as a direct measure of their ESG programs? It’s too early to tell. But probably not. Nor should it be, until Wall Street and Main Street agree on the “why.” Walmart itself cites this dis-connection among their challenges when addressing stock analysts for example who question if short term ESG costs will pay off in a long-term strategy, especially as it relates to stockholders’ earnings expectations. And this gap between cost of adopting ESG broadly and earnings performance may keep many CEOs on the sidelines until they are either forced to comply or appropriately incentivized. But the writing is still on the wall. ESG is here. Deal with it!

From a CEO Point of View

Is my company worth more if I embrace ESG? This is a tough question to say yes to. Worth more can mean higher profits, or multiple expansion for public companies. Currently ESG engagement remains an important cost center, not a profit center. And until that changes higher costs drive earnings down in the short term. But as mentioned ESG is not a short-term investment play, hence the multiple expansion option anticipating higher earnings down the line is more likely a reason for any valuation premium. How far down the line? Unknown. Each industry is unique and each CEO’s approach is different in timing and commitment. But the argument is that one day soon access to funds, and the cost of capital will be higher for non-ESG companies, especially as more ESG-targeted investment funds and managers assert their “sustainable investment” mandates.

From an Investment Fund Manager point of view

According to Jim Rossman Lazard head of shareholder advisory, CEOs who avoid ESG do so at their own peril. In an interview on January 17th, 2020 on Bloomberg tv Rossman said “I think the movement of ESG from the periphery to the center stage over the last two years is probably as significant as the rise of activism. I think it’s going to fundamentally disrupt asset management and the way not only passive managers, but also active managers think about prioritizing ESG in their Investments… yet another agenda the board and the management team have to take into account…”

Meanwhile, Brian Deese, Head of Sustainable Investment for BlackRock, said in an interview on PBS Newshour that same day January 17th, 2020 regarding the increase in climate change activity:

“these risks are not fully appreciated in financial markets and so we believe we are going to see a massive re-allocation of capital…”

Once again timing is everything. And nevertheless, as it stands ESG-investment funds are a nascent piece of the overall investment pool available to companies. Today ESG funds still do not outperform non-ESG investment funds, however, some say that will change. As ESG-compliant companies begin to take investment centerstage, they will eventually have access to cheaper investment capital and thus potentially lock-out or restrict capital to serial polluters for instance. But to be fair, ESG has a bright future and is likely to compel most every company to show some level of engagement and commitment starting soon.

At the end of the day until a global comparative set of consistently measurable and reportable ESG financial metrics becomes the rule rather than the discretionary exception for public market valuation, it’s still Corporate Earnings aka “the mother’s milk of the stock market” that will drive stock prices up or down for some time ahead. For now, however, CEOs who avoid ESG do so at their own peril. Because the message is clear, get started now on your ESG planning, or face the consequences later. And that is the real take-away from Davos, Switzerland this year.

Make sense?

About the author: Rick Andrade is an investment banker at Janas Associates in Pasadena, where he helps CEOs buy, sell and finance middle market companies. Rick earned his BA and MBA from UCLA along with his Series 7, 63 & 79 FINRA securities licenses. He is also a CA Real Estate Broker, a volunteer SBA/SCORE instructor, and blogs at on issues important to middle market business owners. He can be reached at Please note this article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered in any way an offer to buy or sell a security. Securities are offered through JCC Advisors, Member FINRA/SIPC.

CEO Tenures are Under Pressure in 2020. Here’s Why

By Rick Andrade – As published at

The first CEOs in history, or rather pre-history were clan and tribal leaders thousands of years ago, notable Greek, Roman and Persian leaders like Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, and Persian King Xerxes the Great were all the rage. These heads of state were also CEOs, responsible for the successes and failures of the actions and decisions they made each day while in control. Similarly, as is the case today these ancient leaders often confided in a select few advisors: personal, military, and political to help them craft a winning plan. Today we call these advisors the Board of Directors, a body originally designed to advise, monitor and champion the CEO. Later as public SEC rules matured the BOD became focused foremost on maximizing shareholder wealth and has become like the Oracle Temple at Delphi the historic corporate institution leaders must look to for wisdom and guidance.

Nevertheless, as time passed into modern history it was the Monarchs and Czars essentially who inherited the conquests and properties of their forefathers taking the reins of power and responsibility to acquire more. Most ruled from the time they became top dog until their death, which was by most accounts violent and synonymous with regime change and significantly more unpleasant than early retirement of CEOs today as a rule of thumb. Nonetheless, back then CEOs were far more in control of their own destiny, and to stay on the job meant stacking the deck in your favor.

In the early days of American capitalism, the icons of the day aka Robber Barons also ruled the roost of empires and for good reason, they created them. For these ruling class business tycoon-elites the thinking was simple. Many will benefit from their creations hence such rare birds should be left alone. This translated the idea that maximizing ownership-wealth was the very essence of western capitalism, the American Dream. A CEO decision then was thought to be always in the best interests of the business and its workers. And if workers are happy, the community is happy. If the community is happy, the politicians are happy, and when politicians are happy there are fewer rules, fewer regulations, and a boundless field of opportunity for industry and their leaders to grow and control massive wealth and power. In fact, the US government had to ask JP Morgan to help bail out the US treasury in the bank Panic of 1907, exemplifying that such concentration of wealth and power in a single corporation meant something had to change. And by mid century US corporations, while still big and controlled by dynamic commanders-in-chief, began to face growing concerns about who the real winners were in their world. In the 1950s a typical CEO earned 20 times the average worker salary. That might not seem fair to some. But today, that gap is more than 360 times average worker wages according to Executive Paywatch reports.

CEO Job Pressures Build

As CEO compensation continued higher through the 1970s the average tenure turn-over rate for the top gun was still 10% of Fortune 500 companies, 11% in the 1980s according to Kaplan & Minston research, at Chicago Booth, and the main focus through the 1990s was the same. CEOs would be measured by stock performance. And stock performance was measured by (3) things according to Kaplan & Minton  

1) Stock performance of the firm relative to the industry, 2) the stock performance of the industry relative to the stock market, 3) stock performance of the overall stock market.

In the 2000s, a disparity in tenure-ships by industry was evident. While finance and insurance CEOs lasted the longest in the job (13 yrs), manufacturing company CEOs had even less time. Part of the pressures came from Sarbanes Oxley Act (2002) after the corporate fraud accounts and collapse of notable icons Enron, Worldcom and Tyco required independent Board of Director members, not just friends and allies, which in turn caused a significant drop in tenure the following year in 2003. Five years later the financial crisis and Great Recession (2008) hit after the collapse of the real estate loan market caught banks off-guard and resulted in both a recession and a bevy of new regulations on our financial and lending practices in America. And when all was considered many thought the game was up for CEOs whose collective tenures in 2009-10 dropped to 7 years. But like a spring rose after a cold winter they bounced back. Over the 17 years from 2001 to 2017 the average CEO tenure for large public companies was 9yrs according to the Conference Board CEO Succession Practices annual report on CEO Tenure.

This means that over the last 50 years CEO tenure has not trended downward for long, rather it’s become more stable as the chart shows, even considering the impacts over the last 20 years.

Still, while many long-term CEOs have been on the job for decades including Les Waxler of L Brands (55 yrs), Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway (48 yrs), Al Miller of Universal Health (39 yrs), Jeff Bezos (21 yrs), despite the increase in lifespan, CEOs today face even greater pressures.

Today CEO tenure is still principally based on delivering the goods, that is profits and higher stock prices. According to 2019 Equilar research on CEO Pay Trends since 2014 CEO performance-based incentives have risen from 52% to 58% of total compensation today. This increasingly myopic short-term focus on stock performance makes for happy shareholders, and has rewarded CEOs with millions in executive pay for a long time. But there is a growing new question hitting the streets from activists, institutional shareholders, and independent directors these days all asking the same question. Are “shareholders” still the most important constituents in corporate America?

This past August 2019 the Business Roundtable (a group of 200 CEOs from America’s leading companies representing $7 Trillion in annual sales) issued a new Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation that pledged to include “stakeholders” alongside shareholders in their collective bond to recognize more fundamentally the wider swath of contributors to their success over the long term. For the last 20+ years the Roundtable mission was to generate “economic returns” to its owners. That has now changed.

In response to the new announcement CEO Alex Gorsky of Johnson & Johnson said “This new statement better reflects the way corporations can and should operate today.” In a separate interview (Nov-2019) with CNBC tv commentator Jim Cramer, the CEO of Marc Benioff said the new CEO mandate can no longer just focus on the “stockholders,” rather the new model must include “stakeholders,” essentially everyone that has a stake in the success of the business including those in the business, in the community, and on the planet. And that also means to take “sustainability” as a core product message. Because it’s no longer just about ‘earnings per share,’ it’s about ‘impact per share,’ noted Bank of America CEO Brian Moynahand and Nestle CEO Mark Schneider. But, as to how they would be measured by the new statement… Crickets.

Nonetheless, this unprecedented acknowledgment by the CEO Roundtable may reflect times to come. And while it has yet to trickle down or across the business landscape, it’s too early to see how it will impact CEO tenure rates going forward.  Critics argue there was no mention of (Environmental, Social & Governance) issues specifically, no targets, no measurements, and no time commitments specific to more contemporary concerns like the lack of diversity and the personal and ethical behavior of senior leaders these days. Nevertheless, the revised statement could make its way into the compensation calculus measures for CEOs in the years ahead. At the moment 60% of CEO comp is stock-driven or time-based option incentives. And adding a new layer of cost not tied to performance is a significant push-back. ESG is nice, but no one doubts that profits must still come first. Without those caring more about stakeholder concerns won’t hold much weight in the boardroom, or the corner office.

At the private company level, CEO tenure is even more of a bumpy ride, and turnover is less predictable. According to Mike Keeland a Vistage CEO Group Advisor, CEOs are under the gun more today than at any time in history. He sees causes for turnover to be widespread including personal accountability for nearly any business mishap, a focus on short term success & profits, high-performing CEOs being recruited away, and companies being sold or merged. What then is the future to behold?

The Future of CEO Tenure

Today there seems to be fewer places and ways to hide from the echoing voices that were in the past mere siloed distractions. And while CEO tenure is still all about earnings & stock PERFORMANCE ahead of all else, until that piece is secure little worry about stakeholders vs stockholders will likely come into play, as long as CEO’s are compensated by a narrow financial slice of the growing panoply of important numbers. However, as we move into the next decade large institutional investors, out of concerns that corporations need to start taking on a more uniquely accountable role in environmental, social and internal governance, are making their voices heard. Today, more pension funds and endowments are directly and indirectly pressuring stock performance by investing more and more in higher ESG-scoring companies. And as these headwinds add more layers of constituency concerns for Boards and CEOs the bottom line is that change is coming fast to how CEO performance will be measured. Out with the old and in with a new basket of equally important performance metrics tied to compensation over a longer horizon, perhaps overlapping CEO tenure-ships cumulatively for the benefit of all stakeholders. All the same as they say, adapt or die. CEOs today know all too well as did many of their forefathers in the great history of empire, the clock is always ticking.

Make sense?

CEO Tenure Questions to ponder

  • Is history my guide or my Achilles heel?
  • What are the right measures for my tenure, the true drivers of my success?
  • Who are my constituent groups, am I communicating the right message often enough to them?
  • How can I beat the odds?
  • How long do I have left, realistically?

About the author: Rick Andrade is an investment banker at Janas Associates in Pasadena, where he helps CEOs buy, sell and finance middle market companies. Rick earned his BA and MBA from UCLA along with his Series 7, 63 & 79 FINRA securities licenses. He is also a CA Real Estate Broker, a volunteer SBA/SCORE instructor, and blogs at on issues important to middle market business owners. He can be reached at Please note this article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered in any way an offer to buy or sell a security. Securities are offered through JCC Advisors, Member FINRA/SIPC. 

The Latest CEO ‘Rule of Thumb:’ Slow Down

In 1990 in his new book Mind Sights, Stanford professor Roger Shepard first introduced this image and called it, Turning the Tables. Shepard was fascinated by why humans perceive the same objects differently simply based upon their physical orientation to us. He argued the reason the average human brain thinks they see different sized tables in these images is because as humans we tend to “generalize” our understanding of what’s in front of us from past experiences. It’s the way our evolutionary brains seem to work. And that was our advantage back in the day when we were being chased across the great savannas by large ravenous beasts looking for a meal. But in modern times, the same skill-set can have far less successful ramifications.

A faulty generalization for example is a conclusion based on limited sample size. For example, let’s say you go to Vegas and bet on lucky 7 at the roulette table, they spin and you win $10,000. Chances are good that given that single victory you will immediately generalize that your lucky streak has arrived and bet again. To Shepard over time these innate human behaviors “have become so deeply internalized, implicit, and automatic in their operation as to be largely inaccessible to our conscious awareness.” In other words, humans simply can’t walk away from the table, and as a result over time develop dozens of unhealthy biases to support our knack for creating generalizations.

Decision Biases in Business

In his widely popular 2011 book Thinking, Fast & Slow, author Daniel Kahneman (notable decision theory expert) linked our tendency to generalize with the concept of Heuristics in decision-making. Heuristics are like rules of thumb we humans learn and use over time as short-cuts to making quick decisions and moving on. Learning and teaching these heuristic (rules of thumb) especially from elders and leaders undoubtedly enabled humans to survive and thrive because they helped us identify a safer way to live such as which plants to use as medicine, or when and where to hunt for food, build temporary shelters, and anticipate weather patterns and seasons. But while many Heuristics can prevent calamity others, which accumulate in our psyche over time as these authors suggest, become biases, and it’s these deeply rooted biases that can cause great harm when making key business decisions.

Perhaps the most damaging of all biases is not what you might first think, it’s not race, religion, gender, or social status that tops the deadly list, it’s actually “Overconfidence,” aka executive hubris. And in business and life we see it everywhere because it’s synonymous to being a “risk-taker,” a person who takes a chance that the expected outcome they perceive will occur is greater than any other. But that’s not all. Coupled with that overconfidence bias is “speed.” Speed alone is not a bias, but when combined with overconfidence it’s like mixing drinking and driving making fast decisions particularly damaging or even deadly. And as humans no matter how many thousands of years have passed, we can’t seem to turn it off.

For example, on January 27th 1986, the night before the Space Shuttle Challenger was scheduled to launch from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the temperature out at launchpad 39A was unusually cold that morning, below freezing for the first time in a long time. Still, under pressure from NASA to keep the program on schedule the contractor who built the solid rocket boosters, Morton Thiokol, proclaimed their rockets could handle the freeze as senior program managers gave NASA the green light. The hubris had come from the simple idea that no other rocket had failed to launch in the cold weather before. Consequential, neither would this one the executives told NASA. That overconfidence, which killed seven astronauts is “the mother of all biases” according to Max Bazerman & Don Moore authors of Judgement in Managerial Decision Making (2013) and is responsible for much of the world’s worst human-driven preventable disasters whose rival is only that of mother nature herself.

The same can happen in mergers & acquisitions, which are notorious for not working out as intended. And it was hubris and overconfidence that were center stage when in January 2000 CEOs Gerry Levin of Time Warner and Steve Case of then giant online access provider AOL decided to merge. AOL actually acquired TW using its overvalued stock at the time. The deal was estimated at $165 billion, still among the largest ever. But only a few short months later as the dot-com boom collapsed, so did the hubris and confidence at which time AOL was forced to write-off $99 billion of the deal value the following year which in turn helped to collapse AOL’s market valuation from $225 Billion to $20 billion, essentially laying off hundreds of workers and wiping out 90% of the company’s market value. It remains among the leading M&A disaster case studies of all time.

I use these two extreme examples to showcase that there is no size limit to how deadly the impact that overconfidence can have. Small companies are equally at risk as large ones whose CEOs jump to conclusions heuristically believing their own personal insights and successful tract records will never lead them astray on their road to Vegas. And they may be right most of the time, but when they are wrong, the fallout can put everything on the line. So how do we attack this problem?

How to Overcome your Biases

According to Kahneman, the best way to avoid making a bad decision that might be driven by one or more of your personal biases as a leader is to block your biases at the outset. The way to do that is to “recognize the signs that you are in a cognitive minefield, slow down, and ask for reinforcement,” which simply means to step back and give your biases a chance to reveal themselves and their prospective positions and impact on your decisions. This is the concept behind Kahneman’s thinking fast vs slow. Thinking fast is how we all got here, but thinking slow is how we make the most of it better, not the other way around.

It is believed by many in retrospect that had history’s most eventful decision-makers understood this deep human flaw and taken measures to step back from their heuristic biases and generalizations beforehand, dozens of history’s most bias-driven damaging decisions could have been avoided. And for most of us having that ability to step back and pre-judge our decisions objectively might help us avoid pulling the trigger at the wrong time, and in turn suffering the consequences we never expected.

Make sense?


About the author: Rick Andrade is a Food Industry investment banker at Janas Associates in Pasadena, where he helps Food CEOs buy, sell and finance middle market companies. Rick earned his BA and MBA from UCLA along with his Series 7, 63 & 79 FINRA securities licenses. He is also a CA Real Estate Broker, a volunteer SBA/SCORE instructor, and blogs at on issues important to middle market business owners. He can be reached at Please note this article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered in any way an offer to buy or sell a security. Securities are offered through JCC Advisors, Member FINRA/SIPC. 


The Future of Employee Engagement in Food

As published by Rick Andrade: Food Industry Executive Magazine

It’s mid-year 2019 and the U.S. unemployment rate is at a record low of 3.7%, the lowest in 50 years. And the food industry, which employs more than 20 million workers, is struggling to keep them. While a tight labor market is great news for job seekers, it is tough finding and keeping food workers happy these days. To make matters worse, as wages rise, employees are increasingly tempted to jump ship to a competitor. But a higher wage isn’t always the number one reason staffers make the switch. Often the jump will stem from culture clashes and, more notoriously, a company’s management team’s failure to properly recognize the delicate balance between an employee’s perception of their individual contributions to the company and their weaknesses as perceived by their managers.

According to researchers, when an employee’s performance is out of step with their employer’s expectations, the misalignment at some point compels a change. Either the employee improves or is asked to find another job. And it doesn’t take much to create a ticking time bomb either. For example, in many cases, a quick review of a company’s mismatches can be found on the website, where former employees can rate their former employers and voice their experiences, good and bad, and their reasons for switching jobs. A common negative refrain emerges, wherein former staffers argue their case for why they were not appreciated as expected and why they were not promoted. “It’s management’s fault,” they say. True or false, in today’s labor market, business leaders can’t afford to second guess even the slightest of potential HR issues. Rather, they should be looking closely at how to prevent turnover and unhappy staffers and drilling down to the root causes of the problem.

Not surprisingly perhaps, the number one gripe in my experience over the last 10 years in the food industry from former employees is not low wages. It’s getting proper feedback. It sounds easy enough, but according to recent studies, trying to implement a robust and effective employee feedback system into an effective “employee engagement” program takes trial and error to perfect. Each company and culture is unique, and a one-size system does not fit all. Still, if your employee engagement program needs a tune-up, here’s the latest on what works and what doesn’t.

The problem with negative feedback

In early August 1943, General George S. Patton, commander of the U.S. Army forces in Sicily, visited the 93rd Evacuation Hospital tent to check on his wounded soldiers. The fighting was tough and the injuries severe. There, he encountered Private Paul Bennet, age 21, shaking nervously. “It’s my nerves,” he told the general when asked. At that moment, history recorded perhaps the most notorious example of negative employee feedback. Sickened by his sense of cowardly injustice, Patton slapped the young private across his neck with his glove and screamed at him, “Your nerves, hell. You are just a Goddamned coward, you yellow son of a bitch.” And with that, the boy sobbed as doctors and nurses looked upon the scene in horror. Needless to say, this example of feedback was not an effective approach, and Patton was later severely reprimanded by Gen. Eisenhower and forced to make a public apology for his actions.

I cite this infamous example as the extreme case for using “negative feedback” to improve a subordinate’s performance because it’s easy to see why the approach does more damage than good. Today, with the exception of military-style training, negative feedback is the least attractive way to improve performance.

The positive approach

In a recent Harvard study, researchers Francesca Gino and Bradley Staats concluded that company culture also takes a hit from negative feedback reviews. Their study asked participants to write a short story, after which they partnered with a researcher who gave them feedback. “People who received negative feedback, we found, were far more likely to seek a new partner for their next task than those who received confirming feedback. People who received criticism from peers looked for new relationships.” It’s a kill-the-messenger response. It turns out that if an employee does not feel their employer values their work overall, negative feedback in any particular area will seem harsh and unjustified, and will cause them to seek other employment at first chance. To stem a negative tide, however, business leaders will have to walk a fine line to get the highest production from their troops.

In May 2019, I wrote an article: Want to Save Your Company? Just Say No – CEOWorld Magazine. In it, I focused on the downside of becoming a “yes-man” organization, wherein managers and staffers never hear “no” for an answer. I argue that a yes-man culture that eliminates critical feedback damages an organization’s ability to take on more risk, the kind that produces new products, new markets, new sources of revenue, and, yes, failure. In my view, corporate culture needs an effective balance of give-and-take to survive in the long run. Researchers, on the other hand, say that we can have it both ways: a softer, gentler, more positive-thinking peer-to-peer company culture that avoids the ill effects of negative feedback and succeeds.

In a Fortune Magazine interview earlier this year, CEO of Mondelez Dirk Van Der Put divulged his formula for the company’s recent success: “I need to take away any barriers so employees can move fast. I need to take away blaming or fear of failure or not accepting being different… then it’s up to the people.”

The reason negative feedback causes such a reaction, researchers argue, is notably because the recipient takes away a negative self-impression from the experience, resulting in a damaging blow to their developmental self-confidence going forward. In the military, this may be overlooked. But in business, the troops tend to quit as a result and look for a new commander with a softer touch. So, how do we fix this?

Linking feedback to culture

Many new hires will quickly recognize how peers get promoted. They will learn if their company has an “HP way” (or not). Coined by the founders of Hewlett Packard back in the 1970s, which was way ahead of its time, the “HP way” was fundamentally focused on a more holistic approach to their employees’ motivation to work, which included children’s scholarships, stock options, and profit-sharing incentives, to name a few. And it worked. But incentives today need to go even deeper and wider into employee engagement to be as effective. Employees need annalmost cult-like emotional buy-in to stay and thrive, and while not all companies are as adaptable, many are learning fast.

Food companies that made the top best places to work recently include Wegmans, Publix, and The Cheesecake Factory, according to Fortune’s top list for Millennials, and In-N-Out Burger on’s top list.

According to GlassDoor’s annual 2019 Best Places to Work as rated by employee surveys, linking culture and feedback works best when everyone sees the same goal as reachable and personal. And the results speak for themselves. Top employee engagement companies, according to the survey, had four pillars of success in common:

  1. A mission to believe in: A motivating mission that inspires quality work. Employees have a sense of purpose and understand the impact they make.
  2. A strong culture: A clearly defined and shared set of values that fosters community. Engaged leaders see positive culture as part of a good business strategy.
  3. People-focused: Employees are engaged and empowered to do their best work. Emphasis on employee growth and development.
  4. Transparency: Open and clear communication, from the top down. Honest feedback is valued and encouraged.


Look familiar? Still, the food business has a long way to go. A look at LinkedIn’s 2018 Best Places to Work shows only two of 50 that made the list, Starbucks and PepsiCo.

Developing an effective employee engagement program

In June 2019 at their annual HR conference, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the world’s largest HR membership organization, showcased a workshop by Brad Karsh, wherein he advocated for companies to create a culture of continuous feedback on an ongoing basis.

Normally, most companies provide for an annual performance review looking back over the year and measuring performance against targets achieved or missed. The trouble here, as Karsh points out, is the changing composition of a younger workforce, and, in particular, meeting the expectations of the 80 million-strong Millennial generation looking for a faster, more personalized way to gauge and engage their individual performance. And the best and fastest tool to get you there, especially if you’re starting over or need a serious makeover of your existing employee engagement program, is new software.

Among the list of leaders in the growing “employee engagement” arena is With the help of Deloitte Consulting, OfficeVibe developed a program that provides input from regular employee surveys, and then groups their responses into performance scores. This is essentially a modern digital version of a 360-degree review, whereby all worker performance is evaluated by other workers and management. Performance scores are developed and linked to agreed-upon targets, such as an increase in the number of happy customer comments or a reduction in the number of unit production errors, etc. This approach is like having a live GlassDoor or Twitter comments exchange for employees to reach out and help each other succeed and to vent anonymously about anything that bothers them, from boring meetings to helpful tips on improving a new production line. Managers can then anticipate a problem or shortfall beforehand, which is not a common benefit found in the old-school annual review feedback method.


If there’s one thing most common in business, it is that nothing stays the same for long. And that includes the nature and nurture of your workforce. What’s clear today is that, while nobody likes to hear bad news, most younger workers are not comfortable with negative review feedback that is not couched in a positive way that values and warmly appreciates each worker’s positive overall contribution to the mission of the company. Annual reviews that include negative feedback remarks are rapidly falling away as Millennials prefer affirmative guidance more from employers today. The consequences of failing to adapt to this culture shift are a higher employee turnover rate and a potential loss of key talent, which is harder to replace in a tight labor market.

So, if you find yourself somewhere behind the curve on creating a modern feedback and positive employee engagement work culture, I suggest you take a minute and ask your HR executive for a best practice review, and then act quickly. Giving no action on an old-school annual review feedback program that still includes negative feedback comments as the “stick” with no “carrot” component is a company killer. In other words, as Ric Alvarez, CEO of Richelieu Foods, puts it, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, keep it to yourself.”

Make sense?


About the author: Rick Andrade is a food industry investment banker at Janas Associates in Pasadena, where he helps food CEOs buy, sell, and finance middle-market companies. Rick earned his BA and MBA from UCLA, along with his Series 7, 63, & 79 FINRA securities licenses. He is also a CA Real Estate Broker, a volunteer SBA/SCORE instructor, and blogs at on issues important to middle-market business owners. He can be reached at Please note this article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered in any way an offer to buy or sell a security. Securities are offered through JCC Advisors, Member FINRA/SIPC. 

Want to Save Your Company? Just Say “No”

It wasn’t always this way, was it?

In 1982 First Lady Nancy Reagan famously coined and branded the phrase ‘Just say No,’ which was meant for children tempted by drug use in their lives. It was notably simple, and it worked for a while.  But somewhere along the nearly 40-year path since, “Just Say No” became “Just Say Yes,” and from my standpoint it’s not been a perfect panacea for business owners personally or professionally either.

It’s undeniable, we have become a “Yes” culture in America. In fact, Amazon lists more than 50,000 books on the subject of saying “Yes”, or getting to yes, or convincing people that “No” really means “Yes.” There’s even a cable show called Yes to the Dress. But why the growing abundance of “Yessers,” and all the “Yessing?” Does saying “Yes” all the time make your life or business better? What actually does saying “Yes” all the time get you?

Pouring through the research it appears that saying “Yes” frees you from the emotional reaction of saying “No” to someone, and hurting their feelings, or disagreeing with them, and making it look like you’re not on-board with the team, or not being fair. According to a recent Frontiers in Human Neuroscience study too much agreement, however, creates a culture of “conflict avoidance,” which in abundance is diminishing our objective critical thinking, over-whelming our busy lives, and weakening the impact of our authority.

As a CEO advisor these days I see a lot of Yessers. Each, like me, wanting to be liked and responsively amicable. Sometimes it’s straight-forward, other times it’s implied. As if being positive at every chance will make it so. But while “Yes” makes employees happy, what about the rest? Think about your business, your daily life. How many times a day do you say “Yes” in some way or another? Have you noticed the cumulative effect?

In business it’s “Yes” to every employee, customer, supplier, visitor, yes to your lawyer, yes to your banker, yes to lunch, yes to anyone looking for it – yes, yes, yes. Now add your home-life where it’s yes to your Mom & Dad, yes to the kids, yes to the dog, yes to your in-laws, yes to your dentist, yes to your boss and your wife if they are not one in the same, yes to your barrister at Star Bucks, yes to buying groceries and gas every Saturday, yes to re-painting the garage, yes to fixing the backyard pergola, which has seen better days, yes to the birds screeching when you let the feeder run low, yes to paying the bills on time, yes to the dry cleaner who always says “Yes” after every word you say, yes to your neighbors who park where they don’t belong, yes to every holiday, every office party, every birthday and every social gathering, and of course it’s yes to helping every friend and stranger who asks day or night– Am I  right?

The Hidden Trouble with “Yes”

The trouble with saying “Yes” too much, which is to be excessively affirmative, is packed with hidden risk and exposure to other things which few likeable leaders seem to consider beforehand:

  • YES requires an allocation of resources, including time & money
  • YES is making an open commitment or obligation to someone or something
  • YES implies a certain level of risk you must bear personally & professionally
  • YES puts your reputation on the line, or in someone else’s hands
  • YES creates a company culture devoid of constructive critics

As a CEO, “Yes” should mean that you’ve already considered these, and all the other ramifications, risks & consequences, and agreed to them. But is that really true? Or are you saying “Yes” most of the time because it’s easy, and what you think everybody wants to hear from an approachable visionary leader?

In his article in Harvard Business Review: The Problem with Being Too Nice Michael Fertik offers a warning, “Nice is only good when it’s coupled with a rational perspective and the ability to make difficult choices.”

Too much “Yes”, and its hidden consequences, is therefore creating countless company cultures of affirmative risk-avoidance, and exposing you and your company to the negative effects of a fear-driven company culture that can’t say “No” to anything. And when that transformation is complete, precipitously bad and costly business decisions are not far behind.

The Path to “Less Yes”

The path to less “Yes” is to Just Say “No.” And by that, I mean to skip the trigger-finger temptation to use ‘being agreeable’ as your default communication method. My advice is to cut back on your exposure to Yesses each week. Easiest way is to reduce the number of staffers that report directly to you. Less direct-reports means less fire-fighting the little things and more delegating them. For upper management exchanges, try to be more like a friendly skeptic, like a doctor or advisor: a quick decision-maker who also has a contemplative restraint.

Nonetheless, having less direct reports and fire-fighting distractions will help you regain the real meaning and true value of saying “Yes” and reserving it for customers, and bigger issues with higher impact outcomes, Killer Decisions I call them. And be sure to use a decision-making tool for those, such as a Decision Ring that can help separate and weigh the options widely and evenly, not compulsively or emotionally.

Finally, if an idea to implement a lesser Yesser program sounds super amazing to you, then I invite you to join my new Just Say No – Practice & Training Club, wherein members can rediscover the meanings of “Yes” and “No.“ Upon graduation, on the one hand I expect you’ll be just as likeable if a bit less agreeable, but on the other hand pleasantly more able to identify and dispatch with the little Yesses and focus on the bigger ones. And when you do that, your new army of ninja skeptics may one day save your company, and make you a happier, healthier, and even more successful leader.

Make sense?

Go ahead, just say it… 😊



About the author: Rick Andrade is an investment banker at Janas Associates in Pasadena, Ca and a finance writer in Los Angeles helping CEOs buy, sell and finance middle market companies. Rick earned his BA and MBA from UCLA along with his Series 7, 63 & 79 FINRA securities licenses. He is also a CA Real Estate Broker, a volunteer SBA/SCORE instructor, and blogs at on issues important to middle market business owners. He can be reached at Please note this article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered in any way an offer to buy or sell a security. Securities are offered through JCC Advisors, Member FINRA/SIPC