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, "What about maximizing THE GREATER GOOD through replication? There's got to be the first one."
Don 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 also 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 support to write the sheet music.
"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 would like to franchise something good, if only 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." The music never left--in fact, it won't leave me alone.
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 replication of good in the world, there are several ways you can get involved now.
The easiest place to start is with a visit to our website www.peacecentersinternational.org where you can learn more about our licensing philosophy.
You can join the conversation on Twitter! @PeaceCentersInt
You can write to us about your experiences trying to replicate your own nonprofit enterprise at firstname.lastname@example.org
You can donate NOW to help peace grow FAST!
It is important that you You join our next training session to become a #PeaceDonor! Here we describe all the particulars of the social enterprise business model.
Margo Ruark, Founder
On the surface, local Peace Centers may be retail establishments, churches, community organizations, coffee houses, theater companies or dance studios, bookstores or any number of groups, businesses, and organizations that serve as a place for people to learn and practice peace skills. Individuals can also be Peace Center Seed Program leaders. Regardless of their legal status, these prospective Peace Centers can affiliate with our organizations at a number of levels depending on the experience and training of the licensee and willingness to take risk.
Which components of the program that will be replicated differ from case to case, based on the existence of any or all of the following basic eligibility criteria:
Your best answer will come from a conversation with one of our staff who will help you decide which level of participation is right for you. Write to us to get the process started!
1. You're aligning yourself with an idea that's already proven to be successful. You are not stuck reinventing the wheel. The groundwork has been laid, the initial hurdles have been cleared, and the enterprise has proven its validity. While future success isn't a guarantee, the critical start-up stage of the Peace Center network has not only been conquered, but the concept has succeeded to the point of being able to grow into branches.
2. The management of the business has already been formulated. The need to make critical business decisions isn't an issue that Peace Center owners often experience. From product selection to marketing, the choices have already been made. It's simply up to you to carry out the day-to-day business operations. Just like some musicians can sit at a keyboard and play Beethoven by ear brilliantly, others require the sheet music to perform the same piece equally brilliantly.
3. The support network is already in place. You're not "in it alone" because Peace Centers International offers critical training and guidance, and above all, the Operations Manual of the proven business concept to narrow the margin of uncertainty. If you have a question, support is just a quick telephone call or Skype conversation away. It is simply in our best interest to ensure that you receive the support you require to remain a viable presence in the community. It is the basis for a sustainable collaboration, and equates to more time devoted to peacemaking in your community.
4. There is a consistent easy to identify market appearance. Licensed systems are characterized by a consistent market appearance through the use of one brand, standardized processes, products and services, consistent marketing and central coordination by the licensor. This consistency is the basis for the creation of a high top-of-mind awareness level, brand recognition and because customers value well known brands, customer goodwill. License systems also signal a certain recognizable standard of quality, which in turn supports customer loyalty.
5. Organizations in a network are less likely to fail compared to independent organizations. It has been reported both domestically and abroad that the majority of licensed businesses are profitable, making licensing still one of the safest ways to start one’s own business, be it a for-profit or nonprofit venture. This is due to many economic advantages that licensing systems offer. Research also shows that nonprofits organized by licensing systems grow twice as fast as other systems. Licensing systems create added value through a rapid expansion of the successful business format.
With reasons like these, perhaps the question should be, "Why wouldn't I start a Peace Center in my community?" If you seriously desire to make the world a better place, don't overlook the idea of starting a Peace Center International program in your community. We call it a Peace Assembly. For many social and spiritual entrepreneurs, it's the best option that exists.
Former President Bill Clinton is reported to have said, "Nearly every problem has been solved by someone, somewhere. The challenge of the 21st century is to find out what works and scale it up."
Centers of Peace LLC/Peace Centers International, Inc. is a social venture we know will benefit you and your community enormously because it focuses on a solution to one of world’s greatest quandaries: the search for inner and world peace. Peace Centers International, Inc. is a radical new idea in the personal transformation business, what we call a Licensed Social Enterprise.
We have chosen to create this model because we feel an urgent need to scale up and replicate a program that has proven itself successful on a local level. We have committed ourselves to defining and offering an “upscalable,” replicable, financially viable package of information, programs, events and other tools to experience peaceful living across cultural lines. To the extent these programs produce changed lives, we have an obligation to scale up and expand our social impact. We believe the business license model is the most efficient and effective way to accomplish this mission. We also believe it will save an enormous amount of time and energy that otherwise might be spent reinventing the wheel.
What is a Licensed Social Enterprise?
Establishing a Peace Assembly as we define it, is currently a licensing agreement for social transformation. In short, it is a contract-based cooperation of social entrepreneurs with a central support unit, uniform quality standards, that are supported by a common philosophy. Licensing agreements have shown to increase the quality and impact of our products and services through replication of proven models. We do this by enabling others, Peace Center social licensees to use the tested systems, and brand name in return for social results, system development and information on impact.
Similar to commercial licensing systems, the social enterprise system of Centers of Peace LLC/Peace Centers International, Inc. consists of a number of core elements:
* A conceptual prototype and its replication in other locations
* A manual which sets out suggestions for recurring activities
* A brand name for the entire program
* A contract for governing the relationship and distribution of responsibilities between home office and licensees and vice versa
* Standardized training
* Systematic, standardized methods of appraisal and quality control.
The objective of our social enterprise is fiscal sustainability with maximized social impact. This is very different from the conventional nonprofit affiliate model where you are thrown into the lake with a minimum amount of training or supervision and are forced to sink or swim. Within five years 80% sink in the conventional model. When it comes to inner peace, world peace, and peace in our families and neighborhoods, an 80% failure rate is simply not acceptable.
We can do better.
Copyright © 2011-2019 Centers of Peace, LLC - All Rights Reserved. Peace Centers International, Inc. is an Illinois nonprofit educational organization. Peace DonorSM and Waves of PeaceSM are service marks of Centers of Peace, LLC.
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