Franchise Discovery Days: How to Prepare to Attend Them

07/03/2018 15:00 | Start a business

Franchising discovery days

In your quest for the perfect franchise business opportunity, you’ll have considered your budget and completed due diligence to find the right franchise for you. Now that you’ve narrowed down your search to just one franchise, things are about to step up a level.

You’re one step closer to becoming a business owner, so you’ll need to invest time, effort and money into getting as much franchise information as you can before you sign on the dotted line. This will probably involve attending a Discovery Day, where you'll travel to franchise headquarters to meet the franchisor and their team.

What is a Discovery Day?

As the name suggests, it really is a day of discovery. Although there is a considerable amount of franchise information available online, there is no substitute for visiting the company and finding out more about the franchise business model first hand.

During the Discovery Day, you'll wear two hats. Firstly, to make sure that this definitely is the right franchise business opportunity for you, you’ll effectively interview the franchisor. Following the day you want to have achieved a good understanding of the brand, their culture, the level of support that they offer their franchisees, and what their future aspirations are.

Remember though, that the franchisor will also be interviewing you on the day. You'll need to convince the franchisor that you're the best candidate for the role of franchisee. As a demonstration of this, you should share any relevant qualifications and experience, how you’re going to finance the franchise and details of your business plan.

For both parties to get as much out of the Discovery Day as possible, preparation and honesty are essential.

Should I attend the Discovery Day?

You should only really attend a Discovery Day if you're reasonably sure that you're ready to commit to buying the franchise. Of course, there will be questions to answer on the day that could change your mind, but only consider attending if you're a serious candidate.

This is because at the end of the Discovery Day, it’s very likely that you’ll be given a franchise agreement to review with your specialist franchise solicitor. Franchisors are expecting attendees of the Discovery Day to be ready to take the leap into the world of franchising. If you’re still in the early days or research, or you’re not 100% sure that this is the right career for you, then you’re simply wasting both yours and the franchisors’ time.

What to expect?

The franchisor will ensure that the Discovery Day is packed full of franchise information. You’ll find out more about the franchise business model, the franchisor and the support package on offer. It will be quite a lot to digest in a small amount of time, so make sure you make notes and keep any documentation, so you can review after the event.

Not only will you meet with the franchisor on the day, but you'll also get to meet the team that will be providing you with your training and support. As this is the part of the franchise package that is most appealing to first-time franchisees, you should ask about the experience and qualifications of the support team. Do these people have the knowledge you need to help you become a profitable franchisee? Will they be able to inspire and motivate you to improve your skill set?

Perhaps most importantly, you'll either get to meet existing franchisees, or you'll be given a list so that you can contact them after the Discovery Day. There's no better source of information about the franchise than franchisees that are already part of the network. If the franchisor doesn't give you the opportunity to meet any franchisees or tries to cherry pick the ones you speak to, seen this as a warning sign. Good franchisors should have nothing to hide and shouldn't prevent you from completing this vital research into the franchise business opportunity.

How should you prepare to get the most out of it?

The Discovery Day is an essential step in your franchising journey. To make sure you get the most out of it; be prepared. Here are five tips on getting ready for the big day:

  1. Spend some time understanding your goals, interests, strengths and weaknesses before the big day. If you don’t know who you are and what you want, how can you be sure that the franchise business model is right for you?
  2. Find out as much information about the franchise opportunity as possible from their website. This way you can spend the valuable time during the Discovery Day finding out about elements of the franchise that remain unanswered.
  3. Go with a prepared set of questions. It can be easy to forget what it is you wanted to know when you’re caught up in the excitement of the day itself. Take some time beforehand to carefully consider the questions you need answering to allow you to make an informed decision.
  4. Have a full understanding of your financial situation before you attend the Discovery Day. One of the most obvious requirements of a prospective franchisee is the ability to fund the franchise, and you should be able to prove this when you meet with the franchisor.
  5. Prepare to discuss what level of commitment is needed to run the franchise. Being a franchisee does come with the benefit of being able to follow a tried and tested franchise business model, but this doesn’t mean success is guaranteed. It will take a lot of time and effort on your part, so identify what your limitations are before you meet.

What’s next?

All being well, the franchisor or a member of their senior team, will get in contact to tell you you’ve been approved and that they want you to join the franchise. Now, the big decision falls with you. If you decide that the Discovery Day gave you all the information you needed, and you liked what you saw, then you are ready to become a franchisee.

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