After completing the due diligence process, candidates meet individually with members of Wild Birds Unlimited’s Franchise Support Center to ensure that they’re entering into a business agreement that’s positioned for long-term success.
Before an entrepreneur can take the leap to become a business owner through the franchising business model, there’s one step that brands require they take: attending discovery day. For more brands, this means visiting a company’s headquarters to learn what a concept is all about directly from the source. For many brands, this day is more of a “meet and greet” day and occurs early in the franchise development process. For Wild Birds Unlimited, discovery day—or Join the Flock Day as they have named it—is so much more.
Join the Flock Day isn’t just an opportunity for Wild Birds Unlimited to sell candidates on their franchising opportunity. Instead, it’s a day that’s designed to determine whether or not a candidate and Wild Birds Unlimited are a strong match – and, it takes place at the end of a candidate’s journey to business ownership. By the time that a candidate is invited to the brand’s Franchise Support Center for Join the Flock Day, they’ve already completed weeks, and often months of due diligence - they have spoken with a dozen or more existing franchisees, reviewed the WBU Franchise Disclosure Document and received necessary legal counsel, they have submitted a business plan and have successfully completed mandatory executive interviews. So, by the time that a candidate has the opportunity to meet one-on-one with members of Wild Birds Unlimited’s franchise support team, it’s more about the reinforcement of what already appears to be a good match and ensuring there’s true compatibility with the whole WBU team.
“We aren’t willing to invite someone to join our team until we have the opportunity to spend a day with each other face to face. We really want to make sure that our franchisees are a good culture match for the Wild Birds Unlimited brand, and that just isn’t something that you can do over the phone. Executing a franchise agreement is a huge commitment for us and it’s a huge commitment for them, so we proactively prepare our candidates through education and due diligence to make our face-to-face time at Join the Flock Day most productive for both our WBU staff and the candidates, themselves,” said Pickett.
Wild Birds Unlimited’s Join the Flock Day is an interesting day in that prospective franchisees spend very little time with the development team. The majority of their time is spent with members of the operations and executive teams—candidates meet individually with CEO Jim Carpenter and COO Pat Perkinson along with the New Owner Coaching Team, that they’ll be working with through their first year of operations. They also meet with representatives from the brand’s communications, product support, marketing and information systems teams in order to gain a comprehensive understanding of how these departments provide support and resources for franchisees in the WBU system.
By offering the brand’s Join the Flock experience at the end of a candidate’s discovery period, Wild Birds Unlimited is proactively taking a step that’s rarely seen in the industry, which is to ensure that it’s partnering with only top quality candidates who fully understand the business model and are a great match for the brand’s culture. And according to Pickett, the benefits of being that thorough are evident to both the brand and its franchisees.
He said, “99 percent of the time, Join the Flock Day goes exceedingly well. We get the most unbelievable thank you notes and feedback from our franchisees saying that they couldn’t be more excited to be a part of our brand, and that their in-person visit to our headquarters exceeded their expectations. But even in the off-chance that it doesn’t go well, we’re still finding that our candidates are grateful for the Joint the Flock Day experience. At the end of the day, we want to make sure that our candidates are making the best possible business ownership decision that is in line with their individual goals. It’s better to enter a franchise agreement confident that the partnership is going to be successful in the long term. And it’s because we thoroughly vet our candidates—both leading up to and during Join the Flock Day—that Wild Birds Unlimited is able to continue reaching new milestones alongside our exceptional franchisees.”