We’ve collected some of the most illuminating moments from across our ‘Discovery’ issue, by and for franchisees and franchisors.
For those new to franchising and seasoned franchisees looking to add another brand to their portfolio alike, the importance of the discovery process cannot be overstated. Even though franchise development has shifted substantially in the last several years—moving to methods better aligned with an increasingly savvy candidate such as lead nurturing and content marketing—the inimitable value gleaned from an honest and engaged discovery process promises that franchise sales will never exist solely in the digital realm.
In this issue, 1851 has covered the ins and outs of the discovery journey, from first touchpoint with the brand to signing the franchise agreement. Collected below are some of the top tips, tricks and insights from across the issue for both franchisees and franchisors to keep in mind when it comes to all things discovery.
For Franchisees: Own Your Due Diligence Process
Franchisees Sunny Dharni Jr. and André DeSá recently signed on with two different fitness franchises—Mayweather Boxing + Fitness and Anytime Fitness, respectively. While Dharni Jr. is a multi-brand, multi-unit franchisee and DeSá just signed on for his first franchise, both emphasized how critical it is to be inquisitive, proactive and curious during one’s due diligence process.
Said Dharni Jr.: “I would properly vet the concept you are looking into prior to discovery day—get deep into the industry, the competitors, how they are similar and different from the concept you are looking at. Be ready to ask questions about what sets this particular concept apart.”
DeSá echoed this point, emphasizing the active partnership he enjoyed between himself and the Anytime Fitness development team.
“We had a ton of phone calls and follow-ups, segmenting the market trends and looking in the future five years,” said DeSá. “It wasn’t like, ‘just go buy your place’ and that’s it; they really helped me.”
For Franchisors: Provide Access to Your Executive Team
According to Goddard School director of franchise sales Jeff Travitz, discovery day should be an opportunity to provide franchise candidates real access to the brand’s executive team—not just a slideshow and talking points. This “peel-back-the-curtain” approach sets the tone and lets candidates know the brand culture within which they’ll be operating.
“Several years ago, we renamed our Discovery Days to ‘Meet Our Team Day’ to set the appropriate tone for prospective franchisees,” Travitz said in an email. “We want our prospects to know they’ll be taking a deep dive into our business and the support we provide as a franchisor. Our goal is to allow prospective franchisees unfettered access to each department’s approach to business operations [...] Additionally, we make sure to invite various team members from each department to lunch to make sure our prospects have time and access to as many team members as possible to ask questions and learn, but also to develop relationships.”
For All: Validation Comes From Real Connection with Real People
Franchisee Ken Barton of Columbus, Ohio decided to sign on with printing and marketing franchise, Minuteman Press—but before he signed on, it was important for him to make sure that his limited knowledge of the printing industry wouldn’t be a problem. Barton contacted Minuteman Press’ regional Vice President, Gary Nowak, to introduce himself and determine if his client experience and business acumen might yet make him a good fit for Minutemen.
“One of my big concerns was that I had no background in printing,” Barton said. “When I expressed this concern to Gary, he told me that some of the more successful Minuteman Press franchisees don’t have a print background. He explained that a better role for the owner is to be out in the community, meeting with clients and developing new ones.”
The final result? Barton said he felt validated in his choice to become a Minuteman Press franchisee after the quality conversations he had with Nowak.
For Franchisees: Sign on With a Brand Aligned with your Skills and Passions
Business partners and husband-and-wife team Bob and Deb Lemon of Port St. Lucie, Florida were new to franchising—but not to wellness—when they signed on with iCRYO Cryotherapy. Bob Lemon worked in the pharmaceutical industry for 27 years and, to date, Deb Lemon has worked over 30 years in the fitness industry, opening six pilates studios across several states including Pennsylvania, New York, and now, Florida.
The two knew that they wanted a proven business model but that it was also important to them to provide several of the holistic health therapies they had come to know and love, including infrared light lounge/sauna and pulse magnetotherapy (PEMF) cellular treatment.
“We were passionate about offering all three therapies at our location,” Bob Lemon said, referring to the infrared, PEMF and cryotherapy services, “and we knew that iCRYO was the best way to do so. We were taken with what [the brand founder] Kyle [Jones] was doing—how he spoke and carried himself—and we appreciated that, when we shared how passionate we were, [co-founders Bill Jones and Kyle Jones] were open-minded and saw that it strengthened the brand.”
For Franchisors: Keep Discovery Day Flexible, Adaptable and Interactive
Entertainment and hatchet throwing franchise Blue Ox Axe Throwing CEO Gerald Ferraro shared that discovery days should be all about prioritizing the questions and concerns of the franchise candidate—and centering the answers. That means moving away from “presentations and slideshows” and instead “includ[ing] the meat of your operation into the day's activities.”
“As an emerging brand ourselves, our advice for developing discovery days is to be flexible and adaptable to the different motivators and interests of prospective franchisees,” he wrote. “Each individual has his or her own reasons for considering buying a franchise and it is important to adapt each discovery day presentation and discussion to address their specific questions, comments or concerns. We also advise on making the day as interactive as possible [...] As an axe-throwing business, we make sure to include ample time for prospective franchisees to throw as many axes as they want.”
For All: Showcase your passion, and the right business relationships will follow
Recently signed PickUp USA franchisee Matt Keyser knew that an enduring passion for basketball and community was at the heart of his interest in franchising. When he came across PickUp USA—a business which provides a safe and referee-regulated game for basketball enthusiasts from ages 5-years-old to adult—it certainly sounded right on paper. When Keyser’s demonstrated passion met that of president and founder Jordan Meinster, Keyser knew the business opportunity was a slam dunk.
“It was just a perfect fit because basketball is a passion of mine and my family’s,” Keyser said. And passion was certainly the name of the Discovery Day game; upon attending, Keyser discovered that the PickUp USA team had foregone stuffy presentation decks—and even suits and ties—for group training sessions led by certified basketball trainers.
“Kids and adults both do this and it’s just amazing,” Keyser said. “When I was there, I saw about 20 kids attend a training session and they were so excited.”
Keyser was clearly excited too; he ultimately signed on as a PickUp USA franchisee.
Fulfilling opportunity for business ownership? Consider it discovered.