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Here's What Every Potential Franchisee Needs to Do During Discovery Day

A discovery day hosted by a franchisor is an opportunity for a potential franchisee to make the final determination on signing a franchise agreement. What steps should a franchisee take while attending discovery day?

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A discovery day hosted by a franchisor is an opportunity for a potential franchisee to make the final determination on signing a franchise agreement. A discovery day is typically longer than a day, and filled with information and insight on the franchise, operations, market strategy, and perhaps most importantly, having in-person introductions and meetings with the key team members in the corporate office charged with franchisee success. What steps should a franchisee take while attending discovery day?

Meet and build strong relationships with the entire help desk team

For franchises that offer direct franchisee support through a help desk or back-office support, ensuring that the franchise ownership and team have a strong relationship with the help desk is critical to daily operations. The help desk is the knowledge base of all operations, and can assist through the challenges of opening and operating the franchise. Since the help desk team works with the other franchisees, they have a wealth of knowledge to offer all franchisees and their management teams. Connect with all on the help desk team, and ask for feedback and opinions from them as often as needed. The help desk team's approach, responsiveness, and willingness to assist franchisee locations give insight into the overall culture of a franchise and is important for a potential franchisee to assess during discovery day.

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Meet and start working closely with the accounting team

Depending on the franchise structure, many franchises offer an accounting or billing team to assist franchise owners with the financials of their franchise. This helps reduce franchise costs and improves processes and efficiencies. The relationship between the franchise owner and franchisor accounting team may be one of the most important. Any changes in billing, or any issues that arise or need immediate assistance, and the relationship with the accounting team can be the difference in providing the best service possible, and develop the foundation for future growth.

Network with as many other franchisees as possible

Take the time during discovery day, especially during the breakout sessions and after-hours meetings, to meet and forge new relationships with other franchise owners. Make commitments to form mastermind and other monthly connection groups, even if on a video conferencing platform. In addition, ask members of the franchisor leadership team which existing locations best match the potential franchisee, and which current franchise owners would be the best resource. Use all available opportunities to network beyond the attendees of discovery day.

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Plan to spend more time with the franchisor leadership team that originally planned

Many discovery days take place in the same city as the corporate headquarters of the franchise. The biggest mistake a potential franchisee can make is leaving discovery day with unanswered questions, and assuming a follow-up email after the meetings will suffice. It is in the franchisee's best interest to stay until all critical questions are answered, even if it means staying an extra day, and asking for meetings at the corporate office. Signing a franchise agreement is a major financial step, especially if this is the first franchise an entrepreneur has ever owned. Take advantage of the time and opportunity and get questions answered.

Continue the relationship with the development team after discovery day

If the first franchise location is a success, keeping in contact with the development team after discovery day on possible additional locations is a must. The development team is the best resource to determine where the franchisor wants to expand into new markets. In addition, if there are changes or other brands being developed in the franchise, the development team will be the first to know and implement. Conversely, if looking for an exit, the development team will know of other franchise owners looking for additional locations, and can help start conversations.

Coming out of the pandemic, many franchisors are changing discovery day. Aside from either an in-person or virtual day, many are breaking into smaller mini-sessions over a longer period of time. Many are holding in-person discovery days and may only meet with one potential franchisee at a time. However, a franchisor structures discovery day, a potential franchisee should validate the market strategy, cultural fit, and growth potential prior to discovery day. Discovery day should bring validation to the franchisee, and should be the last step prior to signing a franchisee agreement. If not, evaluate and move on to other opportunities.

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