Why attend a Discovery Day
Article by Andy Smith
If you are considering investing in your future with a Franchise you will be offered the chance to attend a discovery day. What I’m going to outline here is what exactly a discovery day is, why attend one and how do you prepare to get the best out of it.
Firstly a Franchisor will offer to let you attend a discovery day for one important reason; that is to let you and the Franchisor take a good look at each other.
The format is different depending on who you are dealing with but should fall into one of two categories, either a ‘group discovery day’ or a ‘one to one discovery day’. The former usually proceeds the latter.
At a group Discovery Day a number of potential Franchisees will be presented to by the Franchisor and given information to start the process of discovering more about the opportunity. After this a smaller number of potential Franchisees will then move forward to a one to one discovery day. Confusingly both are called discovery days by Franchisors.
The reason for the explanation is that in many cases, such as with Belvoir, we only hold one to one discovery days. I will therefore be using the term discovery day in the context of the one to one meeting from now on.
Why would you attend a discovery day?
I suppose the clue is in the title, you want to discover more about the opportunity and the Franchisor needs to discover more about you.
There is a mass of information on the internet that deals with the subject of franchising. A good place to start your research is on the website of the company that you are considering as a business partner.
Even though you can find out a considerable amount online, visiting the company is an absolute necessity.
The main reason is that you can look at them closely. When you walk into the office how you do feel? This might seem a little old fashioned but how else do you manage to really get that sensation? When you speak to the Franchise Sales Manager do you believe in what they say? I’m not suggesting that anyone would lie to you, but, does what they say seem right for you?
Personal interaction is still very important when making a big decision and I would argue that investing your life savings and the next decade of your life is a relatively big decision.
You will also have the opportunity to meet your support team. One of my favourite sayings about franchising is ‘you are in business for yourself, but, not by yourself’. This sums up the essence of franchising. You are running your own business, supported by experts.
Well quite simply put are those experts any good? When you meet them and look them in the eye do they inspire confidence?
You should meet all the support teams that will be helping you, for instance; the premises team, the business development team, the IT team, the marketing team and the audit team.
You should also be given some key information at the meeting. Most importantly of all is access to the whole of the current Franchisee network. If a Franchisor will not give you this access I would very strongly suggest walking away. I cannot see any ‘good’ reason why this would be withheld.
You will receive information on the opportunity itself, in some considerable detail and may find that the information is tailored to your specific circumstances usually depending on your level of aspiration.
What I mean is; if you are looking for a single business that will facilitate a long term lifestyle this is different to looking for a multi outlet business generating millions in income.
Whatever you are looking for it is important that the Franchisor understands this and allocates you an opportunity that does not impose a ‘glass ceiling’ restriction on you.
You are going to be given a huge amount of information at a meeting that will last 2-3 hours. Not all of it is written, most of it is received by meeting people and starting to put a picture together of your new business life moving forward.
How do you prepare to get the most out of the discovery day?
Firstly and most importantly please have an honest discussion with yourself or selves. I’m not trying to be funny here, it is vitally important that you understand what it is that you want. Why are you looking at franchising? What are you hoping to achieve?
You also need to understand your strengths and weaknesses. Are you more comfortable out of the office dealing with customers or do you prefer to manage from the office? There is no such thing as a right answer here, just an honest one.
If you don’t know who you are and what you want, how can the Franchisor help to build a support structure to compliment you?
Research is very important. Does the market sector that the franchisor operates in excite you? How many franchisors operate in the sector and who are you going to approach? My advice, look at all of them online first.
You can get an understanding from the company website, which will allow you to answer your initial questions without having to start many conversations. You can contact the Franchisors when you have whittled them down to a smaller number of three or four.
Prepare your questions. Sit down and consider carefully what it is exactly that you wish to know and write it down. Make sure you spend a few days with your list open so that you can add to it before you visit the Franchisor. You will have many more questions after the meeting, but, to get the most out of it prepare your list thoroughly.
Look carefully at your financial situation before you meet the Franchisor. They will ask you specifically about your overall position. The Franchisor will probably refer you to a third party for a more detailed discussion regarding finance, usually to a qualified financial expert.
Have a conversation about the time commitment needed to successfully open a business. Before meeting the Franchisor please be aware of your ability to commit time. If you are only able to work for three hours a day, two days a week you will probably not be accepted by the Franchisor.
Running a business following a predetermined process and method is relatively simple, but, definitely not easy. It will require a lot of time and effort on your part, so understand what your limitations are before you meet.
What to do next?
I hope this sheds some light on the importance of the discovery day at the Franchisors Central Office as well as the preparation that you need to carry out.
So if you are armed with a thorough understanding of who you are, what you want and how much you can throw into your new future, look at your market sector of choice and start narrowing down the Franchisors you are going to approach.
The road ahead will be challenging, but, ultimately should be extremely rewarding also.
Last Updated: 13-April-2016