Your Toolkit for Choosing the Right Company

Company selection is a critical part of your career and you only have a few chances to get it right. Pick a great company and you get access to awesome opportunities, a valuable network, and possibly life-changing financial rewards.

We’ve lived through both good and bad company choices, and have seen the wide swings in financial rewards, stress, and happiness levels that resulted.  While we can’t promise to help you pick the next Uber, here are some criteria that can increase your chances of being happy.

In addition to applying these criteria to companies you are considering, you need to do your own thinking about how you want to weigh and prioritize them. When deciding what companies are the strongest fit for you, you’ll get different answers, or not make clear decisions, if you haven’t thought about how these factors fit with your goals, career stage, and risk profile.

How to think about Your Company Choice

  • The People – What are the founders and management team like? What’s their leadership style and background? Have they grown and run companies before or will you be living through their learning curve? Who are the investors and VCs? Blue chip backing is a good quality signal from people who looked at hundreds of opportunities with a broader perspective than yours.
  • Market Size – is the company going after a large opportunity, this could mean tackling a huge addressable market, or solving a problem that is very important to a smaller number of people or companies.
  • Product Fit – This can take on a few dimensions – Is the product or vertical personally relevant to you, is the company’s broader mission something you believe in, or are the business/tech problems the company is solving compelling?
  • Traction – almost every startup at least has a story, so beyond the above “opportunity” factors, are there signs of tangible success, like customer/revenue growth, big deals signed, margins, investor demand, or profitability. A faster growth trajectory can mean more personal growth opportunities for you. Less visibility here can correlate to earlier stage and higher upside, so it’s ok, just be aware of where you are on that risk curve.
  • Role fit – Is your function or channel important to the company’s business, does it’s leadership value it, is it properly resourced?
  • Culture fit – Do the culture and values fit you? See our post on culture for more.
  • Life Factors – consider the broader elements that may affect your mental state more than you think, is the job in a city where you want to live (people, things you like to do), is there a commute that you can handle or flexibility around where and when you work

The “RevelOne Stages” framework and Company Tool

We’ve built our own curated top companies tool that brings together insights about their growth, financials, and culture in one place.

It also includes our own company lifecycle framework for thinking about how companies grow and what it means to work at a company at each stage.

We’ve categorized these companies to help you think through their key attributes:

  • Size/Stage – We’ve developed our own company lifecycle framework for thinking about how companies grow, risk profile, and what it means to work at a company at each stage. We’ve defined 4 key stages: Traction, Flywheel, Rocketship, Winner. See the stages and list here.
  • Company Type – You should think about B2C, B2B or some hybrid depending on your areas of interest and the implications for what the product/marketing/sales model means for your role. An enterprise B2B play with a higher consideration/lower volume sales cycle means more of a lead gen and product marketing orientation vs a B2C e-commerce startup, with more extensive budgets, channel complexity, and testing.
  • Company Prospects – finally, you need to act like a mini-VC as you consider a company’s backers, management team, and market opportunity.