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The Economic Times

Micro-battles Can Help Companies Overcome Growth Hurdles

Micro-battles Can Help Companies Overcome Growth Hurdles

Research shows that rapidly growing companies, or “unicorns,” face a high risk of stumbling—but those that surmount the challenges share a few key traits.

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Micro-battles Can Help Companies Overcome Growth Hurdles
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This article originally appeared on The Economic Times.

India’s business landscape has undergone a significant change since the early days of economic liberalisation. Among the top 15 companies by net assets, eight remained on the list between 1970 and 1990.

Yet, fast forward to 2015 (when we can use market capitalisation as the measure) and just five of those original 15 make the list, while only three—Tata Group, Aditya Birla Group and Larsen & Toubro—held their positions without interruption since 1970. Why did these long-leading companies continuously succeed while the rest dropped off? For that matter, what is it that separates India’s promoters? Why do some entrepreneurial companies grow to scale and become leaders in their industries while others fall away?

At Bain & Company, our research of companies around the globe shows that rapidly growing companies, or “unicorns,” also face a high risk of stumbling.

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Founder's Mentality

Fast-growing companies can become global leaders without losing the values that helped them succeed. Bain’s research explores how large incumbents can also reignite their growth by recapturing their Founder’s Mentality®.

In 2011, there were just 28 early-stage companies, still privately owned, with investment valuations of $1 billion or more. Today, there are more than 200 unicorns, with a total value estimated by CB Insights at over $750 billion. But when we tracked those 28 unicorns (along with 11 similar companies with valuations of $600 million or more) over the period from 2011 to 2017, we found that 33% failed to grow at all and another 28% grew less than expected. Nearly two in three died or stumbled.

Read the full article at The Economic Times.

Chris Zook is a partner in Bain & Company's Boston office. He was co-head of the Global Strategy practice for 20 years.

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