Examining Icebergs: Discovery Day at the Professional Services
By Frank Agin
Learn how a Discovery Day visit can vary depending upon the type of
franchise. In the following example, the operation of a professional service
franchise represents a different experience for both franchisee and franchisor
compared to other franchise opportunities.
Discovery Day is an activity whereby the franchise company gives a potential
franchisee an opportunity to meet face to face at the franchisor’s main
headquarters. It can serve as a final assessment by the franchisor to determine
if the potential candidate is “worthy” of being a franchisee. It is also a
chance for the franchise candidate to visit the franchise headquarters and meet
the people who will be supporting them should they franchise.
In addition, Discovery Day gives the prospective franchisee an opportunity to
see the franchise operation in action, often at a corporate-owned operation. For
most franchises, this allows the potential candidate to gain an understanding of
the inner workings of the business, interact with customers and maybe make a
sandwich (or a sign or whatever). In short, they will get a first hand view of
what it is like to operate the franchise.
The site visit aspect of Discovery Day at professional services franchise,
however, is an entirely different thing. These franchise opportunities include
sales consultants, business coaching, and contract CFO's (just to name a few).
Whether the opportunity is part-time or full-time, low cost or on the high
end, it is difficult to fully appreciate what it is like to operate one of these
white collar business opportunities. In a sense, these business services
franchises are much like icebergs. Icebergs are those massive floating
structures of ice that have splintered off from glaciers. The interesting thing
about these massive, floating structures of ice is that 90% lies unseen below
These white collar franchises are much the same. It is very difficult to get
a complete view of the opportunity by simply attending a Discovery Day site
visit. This is so because much of what makes these businesses successful goes
There is time spent networking through contacts and at the business 'after
hours.' Then, there is the follow-up with hand written notes and volleys of
e-mails. Not to mention the countless hours spend trolling social media for just
one more opportunity.
All of these activities are vital to success in the professional service
franchise business. None of this, however, is easy (or terribly interesting) to
observe. But that is reality. So much of surrounding these white collar
opportunities involves marketing, networking and sales. The actual, technical
nuts-n-bolts of the business, like the exposed portion of an iceberg, are very
small in comparison. None of this is meant to suggest that if you have an
interest in a professional services franchise you should pass on the site visit
portion of Discovery Day. Include it on the schedule. When you do, however, come
prepared with lots of questions intended to give you an understanding as to how
the entire business works (and not just the sexy training, consulting or
To this end, there is a litany of potential questions (which will certainly
vary depending on the opportunity).
- Ask how much time does the average franchisee spend on
- Which of these platforms does the franchisor recommend you
use and how?
- Could the franchisor share examples of social media
- What are networking events that franchisees find most
- Who are key centers of influences for franchisee?
- What organizations do you recommend franchisees get involved
Understand that there is no guarantee that a franchisor will answer all of
these questions. Some of them the franchisor may deem as treading too close to
what they consider proprietary or part of the franchise value. Do not let this
deter you. Politely ask for what you believe is important and graciously accept
the answers you get (even if it is not something they are willing to address)
Remember, Discovery Day is about getting a better idea as to what being a
franchisee is like and the site visit is generally an important aspect of that.
If the franchise is one involving professional services, you have an added
challenge. Nevertheless, prepare yourself and do all you can to catch a glimpse
of that “ice below the surface.”
Website AmSpirit Business