How to best prepare for a franchise discovery day

With restrictions easing off and the light at the end of tunnel fast approaching, franchisors are ramping up their efforts to begin recruiting new franchisees with the help of franchise discovery days. If you are looking to purchase a franchise, then we have got some top tips on what to expect and how you can best prepare yourself for these all-important meetings.

These past months you have scoured and siphoned through hundreds of potential franchises, researching them inside and out and have now whittled your list down to a select few. So, what is next? Well, now it would be time to attend a franchise ‘discovery day’.

A discovery day first and foremost is a day hosted by a franchisor in which you are welcome along to get a better insight as to what the franchise is all about. From day to day running, costs and projected incomes, values, company ethos and a whole lot more. It is a great opportunity for both the franchisee and the franchisor to get a better understanding of each other. Think of it like a first date really. Not only are you seeing what they have on offer and how you could really transform your life by potentially joining their franchise network, but they get a chance to see what kind of person could be representing their brand of business. For things to work, both parties need to be upfront, honest and open with what they share.
Without further ado, let us begin with the tips.

Prepare to prepare

Before you even begin to think about attending franchise discovery days, it is essential that you really prepare yourself. By this we mean doing thorough research on the franchise you are potentially going to meet. Have you found out everything possible from their webpage, forums and social media accounts that there is to know? In doing so you will be able to ask more direct questions and about things you have not been able to find out elsewhere. There is nothing worse than asking a question that could have been answered by doing a bit of background checks first.

Is this right for you?

Becoming your own boss and running a business always sounds appealing and for some it is a lifelong dream. However, it is not for the fainthearted. Running a business is hard work, time consuming, resource draining and life changing. Before you take the plunge, it is important that you map out what you are wanting to achieve from this opportunity. Write your strengths and weaknesses down, as well as where you see yourself in 5-10 years’ time and if that matches up with what you have planned with the franchise.

Money, money, money

There are a rare few franchise opportunities which can be started with little cash injection, but on the whole you are looking at a sum of around £10,000. This is not pocket change. You could be spending your entire savings on this opportunity so it needs to be right. If you are in a financially viable situation then by all means do it. However, do not leave yourself without a security fund or money to fall back onto if things maybe do not turn out how you want. Do not forget that franchises are an investment, not an instant cash return.

The day itself

When you are ready to attend an actual day, it is important to know what you require. Be sure to plan your route ahead, whether you are using public transport and therefore need to know timings or by using a route planner, so you know what way to drive. If you are having to travel a great distance, it can be worth finding somewhere suitable to stay the night before/after. Make sure that you are dressed appropriately and bring stationary such as pens, notepad etc so that you can write down everything you learnt whilst you were there.

Question everything

When you arrive at the franchise discovery day and formally introduce yourself, you will then begin learning all about the franchise in detail. As referenced earlier, if you have done your due diligence, they may be repeating a lot of information you have newly acquired. However, now is the opportunity for you to begin asking the questions they do not answer. Ask for finer details, ask if they can expand on certain topics such as investment levels and support strategies. You want to make sure you are fully clued up. It is also sets a good impression that you have come to learn more as oppose to just being there for the free buffet.

Make friends with franchisees

If they are not present at the discovery days, whether that be down to the franchisor or COVID-related then you will more often than not get passed their details. Make contact with the franchisees and ask them questions to see how their experience of running the franchise is going. Getting information straight from the horses mouth so to speak allows you to get a more informed and personal insight as to what to expect if you were to be in their shoes.

Virtual… the new reality

If the franchise if you have shortlisted isn’t holding a face-to-face discovery day then they may be holding a virtual one via Zoom. This interview from home has become more common in the past year and allows you to find out almost everything you wish to know without leaving the comfort of your own home. Although that does sound appealing, it does have it’s disadvantages such as potentially sharing the meeting with several other members or being on a timeframe. So in order to maximise your time with the franchisor then be sure to be fully prepared and also check that your IT equipment all works as it should. The last thing you would want before attending a discovery day is to find out that you have been on mute the entire time.

Now you know what to expect from a franchise discovery day, you can attend (physically or virtually) now without a worry. As mentioned earlier, not only should this be an opportunity for you to see if you have found a potential new business venture, but they are wondering if they have the found a potential new franchisee. Working together can only mean a perfect match.