What Is Discovery Day?
Discovery Day, Confirmation Day, Meet the Team Day – we have a few names for one of the last steps in the process of determining the best franchise to own. For the purposes of this article, we’ll stick with “Discovery Day.” No matter what name you have heard, it’s sure to be an exciting and inspiring experience.
If you are reading this blog post, then you are already thinking about franchise ownership. Maybe you’re wondering what working with FranCoach entails or how we can help determine the right franchise for you. If so, you are in the right place. In this post, we will discuss Discovery Day, which is just one piece of the equation.
Embarking on the Journey
When clients start working with FranCoach, our team goes through three steps with them to gain a deeper understanding of their ideal business model and how they see their role as an owner. Once those steps are complete, we begin the Discovery Process.
FranCoach’s Discovery Process is a 6-8 week journey that begins when we connect you with three franchisors that we believe could be your best match and ultimately involves 10-15 different steps. That’s how long it takes for clients to work with us on doing research, building information and knowledge, and connecting to franchisors. It’s an incredibly thorough process.
Throughout the Discovery Process, each franchise will have a point person guiding you through their processes – usually a Director of Franchise Development (or someone with a similar title). That person’s job is to provide you with all of the information about that franchise as well as to vet you as a potential owner. (Yes, they are vetting you too!) They will also connect you with franchise owners in their system as well as some members of their leadership team. But it is not until Discovery Day that you get to meet the franchise’s entire team.
What’s Discovery Day All About?
The final step in your journey is what we call Discovery Day. That’s when clients have the opportunity to take a trip to the franchisor’s headquarters. Some Discovery Days are still virtual, but the experience will be very similar whether it’s in person or online. You (and occasionally some other potential owners for that franchise brand) are going to meet the franchise’s entire team. You will have the chance to see their headquarters, tour their complete facilities… basically, the whole shebang.
You will go through what’s typically a pretty full day of meeting everyone involved with the franchise. You’ll meet the people behind each of the moving parts: founders, CEOs, other upper management like heads of sales and marketing, etc.
Much of what will be covered is information you will have already heard by that point, but at Discovery Day, it will be covered at a much deeper level by the people in charge of each aspect of the business.
For example, the franchise representative you work with throughout the Discovery Process will go over all of the ways the franchise will help you with marketing. But at Discovery Day, you will hear straight from the marketing team themselves, and they’ll cover their strategies for how you will acquire customers. Each team will also be able to answer any outstanding questions you might have.
The Mutual Vetting Process
Franchises are awarded. We simply cannot stress this enough. Most of the process, while you are working with FranCoach, will be about helping you vet the franchise. But on Discovery Day, it’s also their last chance to vet you.
At FranCoach, we are in contact with the franchisors during the Discovery Process to make sure they are seeing you as a viable potential owner. Then, when you get in the room (or virtual room) with the franchisor’s team on Discovery Day, you will have the opportunity to confirm if you’re in the right room.
Of course, you don’t have to be BFFs with everybody, but you want to feel like you’re in the right place. These are the people who will be training you, supporting you, and driving you toward success – so you want to feel comfortable with them.
Here’s a fascinating fact: The length of time that people own franchises is longer than the length of the average marriage. With that in mind, you really need to ask yourself if you want to spend your life working with these people.
Remember, part of the control you get when you own your own business is the power to choose who you surround yourself with. The individuals present at your Discovery Day are part of that team.
By the time our clients go to Discovery Day, most of them are about 90% toward knowing that this particular franchise is the right fit – you may have a few questions you still want to get clarity on, but it’s mainly about establishing relationships and a level of comfort with the whole team.
Dos and Don’ts
While these might seem incredibly obvious, trust us – we have seen it all. Make sure you review these dos and don’ts before you go into your Discovery Day to ensure that your experience starts out on the right foot.
The Night Before
If it’s in person, there is usually a dinner the night before the event. And when there is dinner, there are usually alcoholic beverages around. We strongly encourage you not to flashback to college the night before your Discovery Day. It’s not the time to play beer pong, and it’s not the time to see how many shots you can do.
Yes, you can have some fun and get to know the franchisor’s team on a personal level. But the bottom line is this: Don’t be stupid. Their team will be interviewing you and vetting you even though dinner is a more casual setting. Make sure you are giving the best first impression that you can.
The Day Of
When you are at the franchisor’s headquarters, think carefully about how you act. We have had clients in the past who simply, for lack of a better phrase, cannot turn off their “inner jackass.” There is an important difference between asking questions and questioning.
It might seem crazy that we have to talk about these things, but we would rather be safe than sorry. We would not want you to make a poor first impression with your ideal franchisor. The takeaway here is to act professionally – in your conduct, body language, and presentation.
Discovery Day From the Franchisor’s Perspective
To add a little more color to our discussion of Discovery Day, we spoke with the Executive Vice President of Franchise Development from Senior Helpers, Rob Cantrell. He helped shed some light on what Discovery Day looks like from the franchisor’s perspective.
What Is Discovery Day Like for the Franchisor?
Franchisors see Discovery Day as an opportunity for their entire executive team to meet a candidate for ownership. As a candidate, you will have already built a relationship with one person from that team during the Discovery Process – for clients considering Senior Helpers, Rob is that person. It’s an exciting moment for the franchisor’s liaison when they get to introduce you to the rest of their team.
Discovery Day is also an opportunity for you to broaden your understanding of the franchise as a whole. To return to our previous example, you will meet the marketing team and gain an understanding of how you will advertise the franchise and attract customers. You will be meeting all of the people who will support your success as a franchise owner.
What Are Franchisors Looking for in a Candidate?
As earlier stated, candidates should be about 90% ready to commit to ownership of the franchise they’re meeting with. Discovery Day is not an opportunity to learn basic things about the franchise. Instead, it’s a time to expand on the knowledge you have already gained throughout the process. Franchisors want to see candidates who are confident and excited.
Rob also noted that it is helpful to see candidates who are comfortable talking with the entire team and want to learn from everyone around them – not just the liaison with whom they have already established a relationship.
Preparation is key. You need to show the best side of yourself to the franchisor’s team; they are vetting you just as much as you are vetting them. Often, you’ll be given information about the executive team members before you go into Discovery Day – take a moment to do some research (perhaps on LinkedIn) on those individuals so you know who you will be talking with.
You will also be asking many questions throughout the day: Why did you choose Franchise X? How long have you been with the company? Make sure to prepare some thoughtful questions for each person you know you will be speaking with throughout the day. Asking insightful questions is a great way to show interest and make connections.
What Should You Expect at the End of the Day?
At the conclusion of Discovery Day, the franchisor will inform the candidate that the team will meet to discuss the candidate and how the day went. Each member of the team has a vote – they get to share their thoughts and decide as a group whether or not a candidate will be granted ownership of a franchise.
This process gives the franchisor’s team ownership of each candidate. It also makes choosing new franchise owners into a team sport; everyone gets to have a say and gets to feel a level of investment in each candidate.
At the beginning of the process, many clients have the misconception that owning a franchise is a transaction. They think that they will pay the franchise fee and then immediately get the franchise. But really, franchises are awarded, not bought. Franchisors are looking for people who will be good stewards of their brands. They are not in the business of accepting franchise fees only to let those franchises fail.
The Final Steps
The crazy thing about the Discovery Process is that you will never ever have to actually make a decision. Roll your eyes at that statement all you want – it’s true, and it happens every time. Clients get all the way to the end of the process and it is so crystal clear whether or not franchise ownership is right for them and whether or not that particular franchise they just went to Discovery Day with is right for them.
It will not even feel like you’re making a decision. When you get to the end of the process with a franchisor and can confidently say “Yes, this is it,” then you have your answer. Anything short of that is a “No.”
When we leave Discovery Day, you are going to do one of two things. You will run screaming to the airport ready to get back home and never think about franchising again, or you will go to the airport with your head full of ideas about starting your new business and what that will look like. In the same way that you don’t want to marry a “maybe” person, you don’t want to start a “maybe” franchise.
Once the franchisor’s team has met and has decided to award you a franchise, all that’s left is really just dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s. You will have to sign some paperwork, pay the franchise fee, and begin planning your onboarding, training, and most importantly, your GRAND OPENING. That’s the last piece of Discovery Day, and it’s amazing to see the excitement in the room from both our clients and from the franchisor.
At that point, you have done it: You have created your better tomorrow. Discovery Day is the last part of vetting franchises with us, and it is the moment that you get to take your dreams of franchising into reality.
Who Are We Exactly?
So how can you have a Discovery Day of your own? If you’re thinking about franchising, FranCoach is the place to turn. We are a national search firm dedicated to working with individuals who are interested in owning a franchise. We have partnered with over 600 of the top franchisors in the country, spanning nearly 70 industries.
Our goal with clients is to help them find the absolute best franchise for them to own. Our goal with our Franchising 101 podcast series and this series of informational blog posts is to help educate people on all aspects of franchise ownership.
Reach out to us to learn more about potentially becoming a franchise owner. There’s never any fee for our service, so why not take the first step today toward your better tomorrow?