Subscribe for 50% off

Making the Grade

Franchising can help entrepreneurs make a difference in people's lives.

This story appears in the September 2005 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Ken Gibson is a successful entrepreneur, but his success can best be measured by the lives he's changed rather than the dollars he's made. Gibson is founder of LearningRx, a franchise that provides one-on-one training to improve children's cognitive and mental skills. By working with third- through 12th-graders to develop attention, memory, reasoning, logic, and visual and auditory processing, he is offering an effective solution at a time when children's educational services are more in demand than ever. "We train the brain to unlock potential in individuals," explains Gibson. The company expects 2005 revenue to reach $4.5 million and will soon have programs available for preschoolers and even senior citizens.

Initially, Gibson thought he could make the largest impact by licensing his 12- to 24-week training programs to the more than 500 health professionals who helped develop and refine them. However, he soon understood it would take much more to get others actively involved. In August 2002, with the help and support of his family, Gibson opened a LearningRx location in Colorado Springs, Colorado, which pulled in more than $250,000 in its first four months. "We realized that showing [people] we could do it wasn't good enough," says Gibson. "We actually had to teach them to market, organize and hire people, and that meant we had to go to franchising."

LearningRx franchises became available in 2003. Interest spread quickly, and 27 were opened in the first year. Gibson plans on increasing the number of locations to 75 by early 2006. And at the age of 60, his life's work is paying off. "The greatest joy comes from the stories [franchisees] tell me of lives that are changed," says Gibson. "They're phenomenal, and I just cry sometimes as they share these stories."

Entrepreneur Editors' Picks