In this post I’m going to share 7 Do’s and 7 Don’ts while you attend Discovery Day.
Whether you’re a seasoned franchisee or someone who is just starting their franchise journey, Discovery Day is a very important step in the Due Diligence process.
I’ve been to a lot of Discovery Days and the first ‘Do’ on the list is:
Do: Come prepared!
Do your homework about the brand. Conduct some online research on the company’s website, but also visit their Facebook page, and other social media. See what people are saying about them on different platforms and forums. If you know which executives you’ll be meeting with at Discovery Day, look them up and see what experience they’ve have.
Your research shouldn’t stop at google stalking a brand, you should also seek out units that are open and operating. Go in and see how the unit operates. If you’ve done a fair amount of research, you may ask to speak to the General Manager or Franchisee Owner.
Also you should read the FDD. That’s right, read all of it. It may be dry, some pages might be boring, but you should absolutely read it as a part of your research.
Do: Bring any substantial partners and/or your spouse
Anyone who will be involved in the business should understand what they are getting into. Its not all roses and champagne, there is a lot of work involved with opening a franchise. Make sure your partners and/or spouse understand the lifestyle implications. They can also be a sounding board for topics in the Discovery Day presentation. Be sure to take their input into consideration.
Do: Ask questions
During your research and review of the FDD, you will absolutely have some questions. In fact there are some answers that the Franchisor will purposely put off answering so that they can answer them during Discovery Day. If they answered everything for you on the phone, there would be less of a reason for you to physically meet with them, meaning they put off answering them until you’re there in person.
Paul and Steve made a whole video on the top 5 questions to ask a Franchisor. Ill link that HERE.
Do: Bring the energy
Take a B vitamin, whatever you need to do, but bring the energy and participate in the discussion. Be prepared to stand up and introduce yourself to the group and to the executive team. Tell them about your experience and how you found them and why you want to be a franchisee. Remember that discovery day is a mutual interview.
Network with the other attendees. During the break engage with the other participants. You will likely have several things in common with them. Also after discovery day is over, you now have a person you can call to discuss your findings with. Answer questions and don’t let yourself fade into the background.
I cant tell you how many franchisees I’ve seen just come and watch the presentation screen; after they leave I couldn’t even remember who they were. Being engaged makes you memorable to the team. You’re leaving an imprint about who you are.
Do: Ask for a tour
As a part of Discovery Day, the Franchisor will likely give you a tour of both the home office and an operating unit. While you’re at the home office, look around at the folks working there. Its likely that you’ll be interacting with them if you decide to become a franchise partner. Do they look happy and engaged? You’ll want an energized excited team to get the most out of your business venture.
When touring an operating unit, ask your tour guide if it’s a company store or if this is a franchised unit. If it’s a company store, this unit should be a paragon of excellence in terms of operations. If it’s a franchised location, it still should be a well oiled machine. Remember they are using this as a showcase and setting the bar for all future franchised units.
Do: Expect to meet with the Executive Team
You should be meeting with the decision makers when you go to Discovery Day. The president of the brand, should make an appearance at the very least, but in most cases will make a short presentation. You’ll also be meeting with Real Estate, Development, Marketing, Operations, and perhaps a few other departments depending on the type of franchise.
Do: Take notes
The Franchisor will likely offer to send you some parts of the Discovery Day presentation after its over. That version may be redacted, or there may be some tokens of conversation that are missing. Take your own notes at the presentation, during the tour, etc.
After Discovery Day is over and you’re at your hotel room, or on the plane flying home, take a few minutes and journal about parts of the day that you liked, and parts of the day that you didn’t. You can refer back to these notes as you move towards a decision to buy or pass.
And Now for the Don’t’s
Don’t come into the Franchisor’s office wearing flipflops.
This is an interview. If you show up super caj do not expect to be taken seriously. Even a seasoned player should show the executive team that you care and wear business casual.
Don’t have your cell phone out on the table.
Nothing is more disruptive to a meeting then having a cell phone ring or buzz. You’ve likely paid to travel to Discovery Day, don’t let your cell phone or business back at home be a distraction. I recommend leaving the cell phone in your car or hotel room. Instead of staring at the screen during the breaks, network with the other attendees or the Executive Team.
Don’t expect the Franchisor to pay for your airfare or visit.
The Franchisor is not obligated to pick up any of the costs for your travel or stay while you’re attending discovery day.
Don’t ask to leave early or otherwise bail-out on the day.
The Franchisor has carved out a whole day of aggregate time among its staff to show you the ropes. You shouldn’t leave early unless there is no interest in proceeding further with the brand.
Don’t be shy.
Now is the time to ask your questions. Don’t leave until you have the answers you need to help make your decision.
Don’t make a commitment to buy that day
You may feel excited, and feel some amount of pressure to commit, don’t do it that day. Take some time and digest what you heard, talk to your spouse or partners. This is a life decision.
Don’t assume that you have it in the bag
A Franchisor can say no to making you a franchisee. They may base their decision on the ‘interview’ or they may base it on a collection of factors. Do not be offended by this, its business.
I just shared with you 7 Do’s and 7 Don’ts of Discovery Day. I’d love to hear from you if you have been to a Discovery Day and have any other Do’s and Don’ts to add.
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