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30 Best CEOs of the Year 2021

John Bellave, Advanced Licensing LLC CEO: A Genuine Good-Hearted Serial Entrepreneur Helping Companies Expand Effectively


“You have to simplify to multiply.”

Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “a good leader inspires people to have confidence in the leader. A great leader inspires people to have confidence in themselves”. John Bellave, the CEO of Advanced Licensing LLC, is a well-respected leader and innovator amongst his peers and colleagues. He’s dedicated 15 years to great service and developing ground-breaking businesses and business opportunities for a multitude of partners and organizations. John was recently awarded the honor of the ‘Top 30 CEOs in the United States’ --a tribute to his hardwork and dedication that is greatly deserved. Mr. Bellave has an innate desire for enhancing the lives of entrepreneurs and that kind of impetuous aspiration to aid others to achieve greatness should be celebrated.

John got started in the business of helping others when he and his business partner and long-time friend, Larry Kozin met back in 2006 during a game of golf. As chance would have it, this was right around the time the residential housing boom was coming to an end, and the financial crisis of ’07 and ’08 was approaching like a tidal wave. It was perhaps then a counterintuitive time for the two of them to join forces and embark on a quest to build a world-class licensing portfolio. Given the state of the economy, achieving this may have seemed about as likely as scoring a hole-in-one on a long par-3, but they had experience, insight, and heart, the key ingredients to success.

Larry’s experience in the furniture industry is extensive. It all started when his friend’s father hired him at the age of 16 to unload trucks and handle overflow sales. After dropping out of the University of Michigan in 1976, he was hired and trained by Art Van (who recently sold his business for a billion dollars) and then started opening his own stores in 1982. Larry owned, operated, bought, and sold dozens of retail stores, but when the financial crisis hit Las Vegas very hard, he completely got out of retail and partnered with John.

John and Larry invented a new Chamber of Commerce business model. What set them apart from traditional chambers was ‘FREE Memberships and FREE Events’. This phenomenon became a national reality, under the brand, ‘MainStreetChamber’. During this period, Larry and his wife Angie cracked the code on selling furniture out of their home and a 300sf storage unit and earning a phenomenal income part-time.

Meanwhile, John had spent a short-time opening a chain of 99 cent stores all across the country, having gone from a humble blue-collar background in the small upstate city of Rochester, New York to truly become his boss. Early on in his career, he had come to appreciate the power of licensing as an alternative to franchising. For him, licensing represented the same freedom he had worked so hard to attain. Today, he still insists that licensing is more rewarding, simpler, and straightforward. “Simplify to Multiply is one of his mantras”. Naturally, licensing allows entrepreneurs to strip down extraneous procedures and focus on what counts—marketing, selling, building long-lasting relationships, and growing their numbers.

John came to realize that the business model that Larry proved in Las Vegas for five years could be licensed nationwide, so they sold their chamber business and focused on building ‘iDealFurniture’, which has grown to over 325 locations under John’s leadership and recruited over 5000 home-based furniture brokers, who refer business and earn fees. What sets ‘iDealFurniture’ apart from any other traditional furniture business is no retail overheads, no employees, and no traditional advertising is necessary and with the group buying power, the result is no retail store can compete with the prices or service of a local ‘iDealFurniture’ owner.

This business model that John developed with his natural ability to discover expansion ideas, is the basis for helping other companies expand nationwide, thus, Advanced Licensing was born. When it comes to generating contracts, John favors skipping over enigmatic language and prefers to talk to people in more transparent terms. Building meaningful relationships with clients is a crucial business strategy that John always opts for. Entrepreneurs who work with John can rest assured; you will be given a crystal-clear development plan. A brief look at John’s resume demonstrates the effectiveness of his concise, detailed methodology.

Advanced Licensing claims as current and former clients:,,,,, iDealBUY/iDealFurniture, KozyFurniture, Epic Pools,

Advanced Printing Consultants, and many more clients coming on board.

With so many growing businesses to manage, John quickly realized that he should invest in building a leadership team to aid in the organizing of the growing corporations that Advanced Licensing is accumulating. Handing control of the operating companies to other partners allowed John and Larry the luxury to turn their full attention to Advanced Licensing, their magnum opus.

Additionally, staying true to their business model of no employees, John has assembled a phenomenal team of other partners to help take Advanced Licensing to their goal of creating a $100,000,000 company, including; CFO, Peter Trang, President, Jeffrey Solich, and Vice President of Expansion, Christopher Petit.

The company has flourished in recent years, and with John as CEO, it has even managed to reach the Inc. 5000 list for three straight years: 1963rdplace in 2018, 1550th in 2019, and this month at 943rd position awarded as the ‘Fastest-Growing Private Companies in the United States’ out of 33,000,000 businesses for 2020.

Think of the companies you respect the most. How did they reach the position they are in? It starts with who’s in charge of making decisions. Advanced Licensing gains praise because John is someone that people can look up to. When you meet John and even have the opportunity to do business with him, you see that he’s genuinely someone you can trust and admire. When the head of an organization has that sort of influence that’s when people start talking. The entire team at Advanced Licensing is eager to hold that same sort of momentum to break ground, think outside the box, and keep an open mind about how to thrive as an organization.

An exceptional CEO doesn’t set out to be in control, they’re determined to make a difference. It’s not about the role or a title; it’s always about the goal in mind. John would like to let future licensees and customers know that the company is here for you. Even if at some point you decide to embark on a different journey, the company is committed to supporting you. He is convinced that providing on-going support and value will make people less likely to leave. The advice he wants to give those just starting out is, do not quit. Jump in and keep on rocking even if the going gets tough at times.

With solid principles anchoring the company’s foundation, John is assured that it will go far. In five years, he envisions a half-billion-dollar portfolio. He also pictures a thousand agents working nationwide, making 100,000 dollars a year…or more. The momentum that he’s built over the years makes him certain of obtaining this.

John embraces good, old-fashioned values, which is a virtue that never goes out of style. Marketing through word of mouth, being an honest businessman, building valuable bonds between himself and the consumer are all tactics that he feels works best. He also understands the practicality of how important internet technology and social media are to staying ahead of the curb. These realizations are the very thing that has helped him when it comes to developing the cleverly inventive structures of Advanced Licensing’s newest partnerships with ‘Dirty Laundry Solutions’ and ‘24-7 Fix It’, which are based on logistics apps and helping local entrepreneurs, whether it is the local laundromat, the handyman, or a part-time wash and fold operator.

On a personal level, John saw a huge change when he started giving first without expectation of anything in return. For him, goodwill is the gift that keeps on giving, and he encourages everyone, especially if they do not believe in the power of doing the right thing, to give it a try. It will take you places you have never been to before.