The Franchise Discovery Process can be related to a typical interview process, in that both parties are exploring the viability of the other (although franchising has a couple more steps and a few more technicalities than your typical corporate interview).
The Franchise Discovery Process is designed so that you and the franchisor have an opportunity to learn more about each other and to ascertain whether their franchise system is right for you.
The good thing about the Franchise Discovery Process is that it is largely universal, meaning that franchisors around the world use a similar process. This can help greatly when it comes to comparing your experiences with a franchise side-by-side.
The Franchise Discovery Process is generally broken into the following stages. Most people move through this process in three to four months although there is no hard and fast rule as to how quickly you move through it.
We’ve worked with professionals who went through the process within a month (and are still happy franchisees now) and others who have taken years. It largely depends on your personal circumstances and timings.
Here is an overview of the stages of the Franchise Discovery Process. Click on each link to go into each of the stages in greater detail:
This is the initial research phase before you’ve even spoken to the franchisor. It’s where you visit their website, download the prospectuses and marketing material, do some basic checks online and decide whether you want to explore any further.
This is the first contact you have with the franchisor (usually a member from their franchise recruitment team). It’s a short, high-level conversation that allows both parties to introduce themselves and find out a little more about each other.
Second Call (optional)
Some franchisors will schedule a second phone call, which is normally a more formal phone interview. If you both decide to proceed, you will be invited to their Discovery Day.
A discovery day is where you visit the company headquarters so that you can find out more about the franchise model, plus meet the leadership and support team. They can range anywhere from a couple of hours to a full day and are usually very insightful.
If, after attending the Discovery Day, you decide to continue the exploratory process then you will enter Due Diligence. Due Diligence is where you begin your business planning process to see how the model would work in your specific territory and circumstances. It involves the creation of a formal business plan, speaking with existing franchisees, raising any required finance and more. This is also the stage were a franchisor will run references and decide as to whether they will award you with a franchise or not.
As part of the franchise Due Diligence process you will get a copy of the franchise agreement for the franchise. It is best practice to have this agreement reviewed by a franchise attorney who will raise any questions or concerns. You will then review these questions with the franchisor until both parties are satisfied.
This is the formal signing of the franchise agreement. Immediately after this you will be scheduled onto training and begin to prepare for your new life as a franchisee!