How I Got the Idea to License World
In 1993, I had the opportunity to visit Don Boroian of FranCorp in
Olympia Fields, IL. He had visited the Entrepreneurship class I was attending at DePaul's Graduate School of
Business a couple years before. He invited the class to explore the benefits of franchising their business concept
and predicted that in 20 years, 75% of retailing would happen through franchising.
When I asked him about nonprofits he said he never heard of that before, and it hadn't been done before, because
the point of a franchise was to maximize owner profits quickly through replication. Part of me said, "I'm going to
be the first one."
In 1993, I was working in the wellness industry in a new company I started with a partner, of which I owned a
40% share. Don was offering a free seminar where you could learn more about franchising and share your business
plan with him and the FranCorp team. They would evaluate your plan and let you know if franchising was right for
He talked about the operations manual as the secret to success of franchises...which was phenomenal at the time
- a 90% success rate after five years, compared to 20% success rate for conventional start-ups. He said that the
willingness to write an operations manual was the acid test for those who were going to make it and those who would
be left in the dust.
I liked Don's comparison of entrepreneurs and musicians. "Very few people can sit down at a piano and play a
masterpiece by ear. Most musicians require sheet music to play the masterpiece. Margo, you are the one who hears
the music and plays it by ear. You will help others play the masterpiece by writing the sheet music for them, the
operations manual." I knew he was right. I knew there was "music" on the inside of me that wanted to express
through a franchise, and there was a ton of sheet music to write. I just didn't know what at the time. And I needed
my partner's support to write the sheet music.
I showed Don the business plan for our company and he told me it was "squeaky clean." Then he asked, "do you
have a profitable prototype that is up and running, a mother store?" We were operating out of a shared office space
in a loft and we had a virtual storefront before it was cool. In the 90's they called it a "corporate image
program." The franchise model of that day wasn't going to work without a "brick and mortar" mother store, Don told
"Come back when you have a profitable prototype and mother store," he said. He gave me a copy of his book,
The Franchise Advantage, which I read cover to cover. I went back and told my business partner about the days
events and the advice I received. My partner believed I wasted the day at FranCorp. He wasn't going to participate
or support the writing of any operations manual when there were sales to be made. I could understand, sort of. It's
a choice every entrepreneur has to make. I believe it was the wrong choice as in two years our quarter of a million
dollar company folded.
"Maybe not this wellness business, but I'm going to franchise something just for the thrill of it. Just for the
joy of seeing it grow, just for the joy of hearing the music played. Something that only I can do." After nearly
two decades, the music never left.
Maybe you feel the same way. Maybe you have “music” in you, that if only others could hear it, the world might
be a better place. I believe the time has come to rapidly replicate solutions to the world’s greatest
problems in the form of a social franchise. It should be just as easy to find peace, for example, as it is to buy a
cup of coffee.
Franchising still relies on brick and mortar to a large extent, but licensing, has really found a home in the
virtual environment, so that is where we are starting! There are other advantages to licensing that make it more
advantageous to us, which are far too lengthy to describe here.
If you are interested in becoming part of this rapid replication of good in the world, there are several
ways you can get involved now.
It is important that you You join our next training session to become a #Peace
Donor! Here we describe all the particulars of the social enterprise business model.
Margo Ruark, President
NOTE: This article originally appeared on BizNik, April 19, 2011. "How I Got the Idea for the
Social Franchise Peace Centers International". At the time of publication, we had a brick and mortar Peace
Center in Berwyn, IL which operated 2009-2012. The prototype now operates in Charlotte,
Back to Social Franchising