Fundamentals of Growth

What we do

Growth strategy is core to what we do. We help companies focus on growth in terms of revenue, cash flow and shareholder value—all of which are needed for sustainable, profitable performance. We understand that to grow successfully, a company must first properly define and focus on its "profitable core."

To that end, our overall core growth strategy helps senior managers locate and expand the strongest assets of their businesses. Surprisingly, we've found that most core businesses don't operate at their full potential.

Our teams work with companies to answer such questions as "What are your most differentiated and strategic capabilities?" and "What are your most critical product and service offerings?" Once we've mapped out a core business's true capabilities, we help clients rank new opportunities based on market strength and revenue potential.

Our approach

Achieving growth is a complex and difficult equation. Only a small minority of companies succeed in their attempts at sustained growth, and for three major reasons:

  • For one, too many companies leave money on the table in their core businesses, failing to optimize for cost and revenue opportunities–or to seek nearby adjacencies to expand the core;
  • For another, companies selling into mature markets need to expand their horizons. We help them look for new sources of revenues, or adjacencies, via new distribution channels, customer segments or geographies, and avoid taking a step too far;
  • Finally, some companies will hit a wall in their traditional business lines and need to renew their core. We help such firms find successful platforms, often within their own businesses, along with new customer insights and capabilities to renew their business model.

Growth through adjacencies

Additional growth also requires that a company relentlessly pursue business adjacencies that strengthen its core, that foster the ability to anticipate and react quickly to the competition and that develop processes to eliminate or circumvent the inherent organizational inhibitors to growth. Adjacency moves offer one of the most effective ways for companies to achieve repeated bursts of new growth.

Two common mistakes derail adjacency moves:

  • First, companies try to build on top of a weak core business;
  • Second, they overreach into new businesses that aren't truly related to their core.

Our tools help clients determine accurately which adjacent businesses will add the most growth and value. Companies can assess an adjacency's relationship to the core business by evaluating shared customers, channels, technologies, products and other factors.

Growth beyond the core

In the case when a company's core formula has run its course, or faces industry upheaval, we help executives renew company strategy and capabilities. This work entails looking deep within their organizations to find undervalued, unrecognized or underutilized assets that can serve as new platforms for sustainable growth.

Finally, successful growth relies heavily on management execution. That last imperative is particularly challenging in many organizations, which is why Bain works to generate consensus within management by jointly developing and prioritizing growth strategies. Read more about our Results Delivery approach.

We develop insights that work for our clients. Our approach and recommendations are highly customized and lead to practical actions. Below is a selection of our experts' perspectives on important issues—for our clients and their industries. Visit Bain Insights to read more.