Expect franchisors to invite you to their Discovery Days, and
don't be afraid to accept their invitations. But before you go,
here's what you need to know to help you get the most from
participating in a Discovery Day.
What is Discovery Day?
Discovery Days are show 'n tell days for franchisors, and
they're just as important for franchisors as they are for
prospective franchisees. While franchisors use this time to
demonstrate what their brands deliver and how they support
franchisees, they're also observing the prospects to determine who
has the requisite qualities to become a franchisee.
Large franchisors may conduct daily Discovery Days for one or
two prospects, while other franchisors prefer to reserve a day a
month for this experience and host multiple prospects. Whatever the
case, the Discovery Day is an important milestone in the selection
of both a brand and a franchisee.
How do you get invited?
A franchisor is likely to invite you to Discovery Day as soon as
it's apparent to the franchisor that you're a qualified prospect.
In other words, you not only have the desire to acquire a
franchise, but you can meet the financial requirements, too. You
can also ask a franchisor to invite you to a Discovery Day, as
that's an indication of your interest and knowledge about how the
franchise buying process works.
Franchisors use Discovery Days for different purposes. For
example, some think of the Discovery Day as "decision day," and
once it's over they want you to decide if you'll buy their
franchise. They may tell you in advance to be prepared to make your
decision and sign the franchise agreement. However, you can't sign
an agreement unless you've been properly disclosed by the
franchisor. Therefore, the franchisor will make certain to provide
you with the legally required disclosure document well in advance
of Discovery Day.
There's no obligation to buy
But don't worry: You do not have to sign any legal documents
until you're ready to do so, and you are not obligated to buy a
franchise just because you attended a Discovery Day. You can always
say "no" or take additional time to make your decision. It's not
unusual for franchise prospects to attend multiple Discovery Days.
However, there's always the chance that someone else will say "yes"
and to the one franchise available in your area, and if that
happens you will lose your buying opportunity.
Here's how it works
You can ask the franchisor to provide you with the Discovery Day
agenda in advance of attendance. Generally, franchisors use the
Discovery Day to introduce prospects to their business: "Here's
what we do, how we do it, and here are the people who make it
happen." During Discovery Day, you'll meet the franchisor's key
personnel as you tour the home office, or as they present to you in
a conference room. Most of the time will be spent explaining how
the franchisor trains and supports franchisees, and why the
company's products and/or services are marketable and
Be prepared to ask questions
Do not expect the franchisor to reveal trade secrets at a
Discovery Day, but don't shy away from asking important questions.
Some franchisors include presentations by local franchisees in
their Discovery Days, and give the prospects time to question the
You'll get more out of a Discovery Day if you go with a list of
questions. You'll find many pertinent questions in
101 Questions To Ask Before You Invest In A
, by Dr. John Hayes who teaches the A to Zs of Buying a Franchise
at the International Franchise Expo.
What will it cost?
Discovery Days are free and there's usually no limit to the
number of people who can attend with you. In fact, franchisors will
encourage spouses, partners and key employees to attend. Of course,
you'll be responsible for travel arrangements, meals and
Attending a Discovery Day may cost you several hundred dollars
and a day or two of your time, but attending a Discovery Day is
worth it because it prepares you to make the ultimate decision to
buy or not buy the franchise.