Discovery Day: Preparation and Checklist

This is the last of three parts about how to maximize the effectiveness of your Discovery Day. To see or review part one (Fundamentals), click here. To see or review part two (Down to Details), click here.

Preparation

Companies schedule Discovery Days in different ways: once a month, once a week, or anytime a candidate can make it! As your system grows, you'll be forced to schedule more frequent and specific dates so you don't overtax your home office resources. But sooner is better. Like a cold steak, your opportunity can lose its sizzle the longer the wait for Discovery Day. Unexpected events in your prospect's world may postpone or kill the event entirely.

Discovery Day is show time, so the better prepared you and your candidate are, the more successful the results will be. Get affirmation that they are ready to join your franchise if accepted, barring any unforeseen circumstances. Coach your candidates to present themselves professionally to help ensure review committee approval. It's the time for both of you to meet, get to know each other, and confirm this is a good match.

"Be sure to put your best foot forward! It is important for our staff to know who you are, and believe that you can be successful in our business. Express yourselves. Show your personalities and interest in the franchise program. Prepare at least two questions to ask at your meetings with operations, real estate, and our senior executive staff." Prospective buyers should also be ready to answer questions for executive committee approval such as "Why do you feel we should award this opportunity to you?" and "What contributions do you believe you can bring to our system?"

Some franchisors have the president or CEO conduct a pre-Discovery Day interview with a candidate before they are approved to attend. This interim step further qualifies the buyer's interest, expectations, and suitability before both parties invest their time and expense in the Discovery Day event.

Candidate personality profiles should be completed at least a week prior to Discovery Day and forwarded, along with their applications and other relevant information, to the executive review committee. Committee members can reference these files when considering their franchise approval before, during, or immediately after Discovery Day.

Mobile Bankers, a mobile check-cashing franchise, thoroughly qualified candidates for Discovery Day. The franchisor required each candidate to prepare a preliminary business plan (less any financial projections) for presentation to their review committee. Potential buyers were instructed to: 1) express their ideas on how they would set up their business; 2) present local marketing ideas to build customers; and 3) share how they saw their role in the business initially and long term. This type of interactive assignment further engages the buyer in your business, demonstrates their skill sets, and provides a snapshot of how prepared they are for your concept.

Discovery Day Checklist

Complete one week before attending:

  • Personality profiles completed for the franchise candidates.
  • Preliminary or final territories established for the franchise, by towns, cities, or counties. (Use physical boundaries for confirmation rather than ZIP Codes or city lines. Physical boundaries rarely change, ZIP Codes do. This saves you from territory confusion and conflicts that could arise later.)
  • FDD sent and acknowledgment receipt on file to satisfy the FTC's 14-day waiting period for franchisee signing.
  • Filled-out agreements sent to candidate to satisfy the FTC's 7-day waiting period for franchisee signing.
  • Funding for the franchise preliminarily pre-approved.
  • Any major candidate concerns, questions, and issues discussed and satisfied.
  • Discovery Day agenda, accommodations, directions, appropriate dress, and other details emailed or posted online in a password-protected area.
Published: January 5th, 2011

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