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How Should I Prepare for a Franchise Discovery Day?

I've been researching franchises and have finally settled on one that seems to be a good match. I'm about to head to its franchise discovery day. What can I expect? How should I prepare? What should I be looking for?
Jeff Elgin answered May 4, 2011
URL: http://www.entrepreneur.com/answer/222303
Many franchise companies are using a "Discovery Day" approach to ending the franchise sales process. This type of event typically allows the prospective franchisee to meet and interact with a number of the executives and support staff of the franchise company. The interaction allows you to form an impression from them of the culture and values of the company. It allows them to form an impression of you to decide how well they think you'll do in their business.

The most common format involves group presentations and one-on-one meetings. They will deliver information to you and should also allow plenty of time for you to raise any remaining questions. The days are usually crammed full of activities that may also include tours of existing units or interviews with one or more franchisees.

These events are almost always the precursor to making a decision about whether or not to enter into a franchise together. You need to decide about the company, and vice versa. While some weaker franchisors will approve almost anyone who attends, stronger franchisors will decline as many as 30 percent to 50 percent of their discovery day attendees.

Some good advice before you go is to think about discovery day as if it was a job interview -- your first task is to make sure you get offered the job. From there you can decide whether or not you want to take it. In the context of a discovery day, you want to make sure that they offer you the franchise by demonstrating a good attitude and behavior to them.

You also want to make sure you gather all of the information and impressions you need to decide whether that franchise -- and the franchisors -- are right for you. The franchisors will usually expect you to make your decision fairly quickly after discovery day so be prepared and you should find this event to be of great value in helping you make your decision.

Related: How to Get the Most Out of a Franchise 'Discovery Day'
Related: Will I Make Money As a Franchisee?

Jeff Elgin has almost 20 years of experience franchising, both as a franchisee and a senior franchise company executive. He's currently the CEO of FranChoice Inc., a company that provides free consulting to consumers looking for a franchise that best meets their needs.