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- Identify The Culture: Does the company clearly enumerate it’s cultural values and what it stands for? A good example is the Gore & Associates, Inc. beliefs and principles page. This article boils it down to three steps: 1) look for what stays the same, 2) look at the structure, 3) look at how the company engages with its employees and with the community.
- Understand the Business Model: How does the company make money? What is it that they are selling? Products, services, or a combination of the two? Are they a contracting company that does a lot of one-offs for different customers or do they have their own platform or service that they sell?
- Identify the value proposition: What is are the needs that they satisfy for their customers? What do those products or services enable their customers to do that they could not otherwise? How sticky are their offerings?
- What Makes Them Different? What differentiates them from their competition and/or gives them an edge? Any successful business operates in a category of other similar businesses and they always have competition. What do they have that is different from their competitors?
- Who are their clients and customers?
- Who is their leadership? This is one of the most important questions and you should spend enough time to research the leaders of this company to get a good idea of what they are like. Nowadays there are more likely than not many videos and interviews of these people through which you can try to glean information about what they are like. Not just as business people, but as human beings.
- What have they been involved in
- What is their reputation
- What news is there about them