September 3, 2014

The Franchise Discovery Day

In most cases, you’ll have to be invited to what’s known in the franchise industry as a Discovery Day. And, if you are invited to a Discovery Day, get ready; things are about to get serious.

discovery

If you’ve done a good job with your franchise business selections, including making sure that the opportunities you’ve looked into are easily within your budget, and you’ve done a stellar job with your research, there’s only a couple of things left for you to do.

The first thing involves energy. You’re going to have to decide which opportunity you’re going to focus all of your energy on. Once you’ve done that, you’re a lot closer to becoming an owner.  The next thing you do will probably involve travel, and with it, some out of pocket expenses. It’s the Discovery Day; it’s the day that you travel to franchise headquarters to meet the franchise team.

You Need to Get an Invite

Not just anybody can attend a Discovery Day. Only candidates that qualify financially, and have been through every stage of the franchise exploration process with their franchise development representatives can get an invite.

Most franchise development representatives don’t extend an invitation to their franchise candidates until they’ve gone through several specific steps in the process. The candidate’s credit history is checked, and there’s usually a background check done, too. In addition, the development representatives must feel confident that their candidates have a good understanding of the business itself, and what their roles would be in the operation of it.

It’s also the job of the representative to help their candidate’s get a feel for the (FDD) Franchise Disclosure Document, and to answer questions that they may have along the way. All franchise buyers must be presented with this document before they’re permitted to actually buy the franchise opportunity. The items listed, (23 of them) include company financials, executive backgrounds, and the actual franchise contract.

If you’ve met the criteria identified above, and you do get invited up to headquarters, should you go?

The answer to that question depends on how serious you are about becoming an owner of the franchise in question.

For Serious Candidates Only

When my clients ask me if they should attend a Discover Day that they’ve been invited to, I tell them to only go if they’ve made the commitment to buy the franchise. That’s because by the time Discovery Day rolls around, the candidate should know just about all there is to know about the opportunity. No more research should be needed. The candidate should have a pretty good idea on how his or her franchise will be financed, and should have a franchise attorney standing by to look the franchise contract over, which may be sent home with the candidate at Discovery Day.

That’s right; a contract. That’s why only serious franchise candidates should pay a visit to franchise headquarters …  candidates who are just about ready to take the leap.

What to Expect

Your day at headquarters will allow you to see the entire operation in action. You’ll get a tour of the facility plus you’ll spend some time in all the different departments. You’ll meet the CEO. You may have an opportunity visit one or two franchise operations located in the vicinity of headquarters

When you attend the franchisor’s Discovery Day, you’re going to notice a difference in the way that your franchise development rep is communicating with you.  Eventually, things may start to feel a little more salesy than they have been during your past interactions. Your representative could be close to making a sale — and a commission.

But, two things need to happen before that sale can take place:

  1. The executive team needs to feel that you’d be a good franchisee, and if so, formally approve you. If they do so, your franchise representative will call you a day or two after your Discovery Day visit, and tell you that you’ve been approved as a franchisee and that they’d love to have you as one.
  2. The second decision will of course be yours —  The Decision to become a franchisee.

Your Discovery Day will fly by. Absorb as much as you can. Get a feel for the company culture. Then go back home and sit on things for a couple of days. Bring the franchise contract to your (franchise) attorney.  If everything looks good, you’ll have a decision to make.  You’ll know what to do.


Discovery Photo via Shutterstock

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Joel Libava - Franchise Expert


Joel Libava Joel Libava is the Franchise Expert for Small Business Trends. Joel, The Franchise King®, equips today’s prospective franchise owners with time-tested, proven techniques designed to increase odds of success. He does this through one-on-one coaching, and gobs of useful content that can be found on places like Small Business Trends, SBA.Gov, and his award-winning franchise blog, The Franchise King Blog . He’s been featured in Entrepreneur® magazine, and is frequently called upon by national media outlets and publications for his no-spin insights into the world of franchising.

5 Reactions

  1. That’s some good advice on attending a Franchise Discovery Day. It can be difficult to make the right decision about which franchise to go for. It’s a good idea to speak to other franchise owners to see how well they’ve faired with their business before you invest.

  2. Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Peter.

    Does the franchise you work for have Discovery Days?

    The Franchise King®

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