You’ve considered your budget, done some research and narrowed down your ideal franchise opportunities - it’s time to take things up a notch and book a franchise discovery day. Before you invest a significant amount of money, it’s essential to meet the franchising team.
Before we get into the tips, let’s go over what happens at a franchise discovery day. As the name suggests, it really is a day of discovery. Although you’ll be able to find information online, there’s no substitute for speaking to a franchise’s team and finding out more about the business model first hand. It’s an opportunity for you to get a sense of your future lifestyle as a franchisee. Do you get on with the franchisor and do you feel at home in the business?
However, the franchisor will also be unofficially screening you as a potential franchisee. You'll need to present yourself well and convince them you're a great candidate with relevant qualifications and experience. For both parties to get as much as possible out of the discovery day, preparation and honesty are essential.
You can find out more about what happens at a franchise discovery day in our dedicated article on the topic.
How to prepare for a franchise discovery day
Here are some of our best tips and tricks on getting ready for franchise discovery days.
1. Bring supplies - Most franchisors try to fit a lot into their discovery days, so you’ll have to digest quite a huge quantity of information in a small amount of time. During the session, you’ll probably sit down to discuss the opportunity, meet the rest of the team and visit a franchise branch to talk to existing franchisees. So, make sure you have a pen and paper or a device to make notes, a phone to take photos and somewhere to store any documents you pick up.
2. Research the franchise beforehand - You don’t want to spend precious minutes asking about topics you could have researched online - not only will it waste your time, but it’ll make you seem poorly prepared. Head to the franchise’s website and social media pages beforehand to find out as much about the opportunity as you can. Then, you can make the most of the time you have on the day.
3. Consider your goals - If you don’t understand your strengths, skills and long-term targets, you won’t be able to discern whether the franchise is right for you. Spend some time reviewing your experience and interests before the day and think about whether the franchise can help you reach your goals.
4. Understand your finances - During the franchise discovery day, the franchisor may want to discuss finances with you. They’ll need to be sure you’re able to comfortably fund your business unit. You don’t need to have finalised your plans, but it’s worth reviewing the figures and exploring potential loan opportunities before the day.
5. Consider your responsibilities and limitations - Being a franchisee allows you to access a tried and tested business model, but it doesn’t guarantee success. Investors must be prepared to put a lot of time and effort into their business, so make sure you can commit to the agreement. You may want to ask the franchisor about the contract term, required hours or flexibility options.
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6. Prepare some questions - One of the most important parts of a franchise discovery day is getting the answers you need to make your final decision about joining the business. It’s not uncommon to have a mind blank when you’re caught up in the excitement of the day, so jot down some questions before you arrive. What do you need to know in order to feel confident investing in the franchise?
7. Get ready to talk to franchisees - If you don’t get to meet existing franchisees as part of the discovery day, you’ll almost certainly be given their contact details to get in touch at a later date. Talking to people who have already gone through the process of launching their own franchise unit will give you an unbiased insight into the business. Make sure you know what you want to get out of your meeting and prepare questions to help you gain a full understanding of life in the franchise.
How to prepare for a virtual franchise discovery day
As time goes on, more and more franchisors are organising virtual franchise discovery days, allowing prospective investors to get a feel for the business without even leaving their home. While this new type of meet-up brings advantages, there’s a limit to the insight you can get through a video call and attendees may have less time to ask questions.
So, it’s incredibly important to put thought into your preparations before attending a virtual franchise discovery day. Here are some additional tips to get ready for online sessions:
8. Master the tech - Most franchises take advantage of technology, and the franchisor may use the discovery day to see how well you cope when using digital devices. Make sure you know how to use the call software; you may have to prepare lighting or make changes to maximise video and audio quality.
>> Read more:
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9. Expect to block your time - Like in-person meetings, virtual franchise discovery days are usually split into distinct sessions. You might spend 30- or 60-minute chunks meeting various team members, so be prepared to cut to the chase and ask the questions that will give you the most insight.
10. Practise self-assurance - Franchise discovery days are your first opportunity to impress the franchisor, so you’ll want to make a good impression. Aim to speak eloquently and use your body language to demonstrate your passion for the investment opening.
What’s going on when [candidates] ask questions? There’s a raise your hand feature [in the system]. We get to hear how articulate they are. Are they spot on with asking the question? We require them to keep their video on; we want to see their physical reactions.
—Ryan Zink, Franchise FastLane
More information on running your own business with a franchise
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Alice Tuffery, Point Franchise ©