Most companies seek to outgrow their markets by 2X in revenue and 4X in profit. But growth is hard, and few reach their goals.

We call the successful companies sustained value creators—those that have outgrown and outearned their peers while returning their cost of capital.

Bain has looked extensively at what fuels the success of these companies. We have distilled what we have learned into five beliefs on strategy.

Sustained value creators are overwhelmingly leaders in at least one core business. Most of their growth comes from the core or one-step adjacencies—moves that are very close to the core.

Bain research shows that most adjacency moves fail. Being disciplined and staying close to the core are the keys to success.

The most successful companies evolve over time through a series of one-step moves based on a repeatable model. Using a repeatable model for expansion can double a company's success rate.

  • Future-back scenarios around the few critical uncertainties
  • No-regret moves, options and hedges, and a portfolio of bets
  • Strategy should be separate but linked to operational and financial planning
  • Issues-based strategic agenda to force big debates on alternatives
  • Flexible tactics and Agile innovation enable adaptation
  • Rapid feedback loops based on a few simple metrics