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How To Make The Most of a Franchise Discovery Day

Discovery Days can make or break a franchise deal, so it’s best to be prepared. Here’s how.

In the process of buying a franchise, Discovery Days are a big deal. 

The trip to corporate headquarters will introduce you to franchisees, help you learn about the day-to-day operations and help you make the connections necessary to pull the trigger should you choose to buy. But how do you make the most of such a potentially overwhelming day?

It starts with knowing why you’re there in the first place.

What is a Franchise Discovery Day Anyway?

Discovery Days are opportunities for franchisors to show off what they have to offer. For the prospective franchisee, it’s an opportunity to learn more about a concept, get to know who’s behind the brand and it will support you if you choose to sign on.

Discovery Days are invitation-only, so only qualified prospects attend. While it’s important that the brand be impressive, it’s also important to remember the brand’s leaders are scrutinizing prospects as well. 

With that in mind, the following tips should help you feel prepared for the big day. 

Research The Franchise 

Discovery Days are for learning, but that doesn’t mean go in blind. Do research on the history of the brand, its founders and its mission. With that knowledge, come to the event prepared to ask informed questions and follow up on any gaps in the data the brand has already shared.

Steven Gardner, the founder of QSR Franchise Development, told 1851 that learning more about the history of the brand is key in the decision process, and it’s especially important even prior to your corporate visit. 

“It’s important to research the founders and their experience, are there any wrinkles? I’d want to know a lot about them personally,” he said.

Look at their financial history. Any bankruptcies? Other failed businesses? Debts to pay? Make sure the franchisor’s founders are on the level. 

Clue Into Company Culture

During a Discovery Day visit, prospects will meet both prospective franchisees and corporate level staff. Prospects should feel at ease with the company culture, and franchisors should make an effort to make them feel that way while still being candid.

This is still business, you’re not here to make friends, but ultimately you want to be working with people you share a mission with. The business leaders make up the brand’s culture, so if they’re not the right fit then it might be time to research a new concept. 

Gardner also said that paying attention to what corporate support looks like can be a big indicator of company culture: “Learning more about what their support team looks like, and how they are going to support you from the time you go into training and beyond is key. What kind of ongoing support can you expect? New franchisees need a lot of hand-holding and support, but do they deliver?” 

Don’t Get Overwhelmed

Prepare for information overload. There are numerous introductions to people, lots of talks, demonstrations and plenty of literature on the concept and opportunity. But having too much information is better than not having enough. So, take notes, collect brochures and review the information after the event. Don’t feel pressured to decide on the franchise sale right away. 

Many franchisors appreciate a cautious franchisee. 

Maintain Good Judgment 

Remember, franchisors are looking to sell their concept, so try to analyze their pitch objectively. At the end of the day, it’s your money that you’re investing and you shouldn’t feel obligated to buy just because you’ve heard some impressive demonstrations. After the event, take some time to gather your thoughts and make the decision that’s going to make you happiest. If it’s the right fit, great. If not, there are other Discovery Days waiting to be attended and other brands that will be happy to welcome you.