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A Long Way

Reflections on 25 years of franchising from <i>Entrepreneur's</i> Editorial Director Rieva Lesonsky

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This story appears in the January 2004 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Do you remember what you were doing in 1980? Likely not, sincebased on the average age of Entrepreneur readers, most ofyou were teenagers. I, on the other hand, was a research assistantat Entrepreneur magazine. Most of what I remember from thosedays is fragmentary, but I do recall sitting on the floorsurrounded by hundreds of forms, helping compileEntrepreneur's very first Franchise 500®, publishedin the 1980 March issue.

In those days, Entrepreneur was a little-known magazinehelping people start businesses. Back in 1979 to '80, fewAmericans had entrepreneurial aspirations; most didn't evenknow what the word entrepreneur meant. The few advertisers we hadat the time were pitching franchise and business opportunities (notnearly as popular then as they are today). Someone (I don'tremember who) had the idea of ranking the franchises. And so,pre-PCs, we sat on the floor and compared the data.

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