The vast majority of small businesses stay small—and not by choice. Only the most savvy and persistent—a tiny one tenth of one percent—break through to annual sales above $250 million. In The Breakthrough Company, Keith McFarland pinpoints how everyday companies become extraordinary, showing that luck is a negligible factor. Rather, breakthrough success turns out to be associated with a clearly identifiable set of strategies and skills that anyone in any business can emulate—from small startup to industry leader.
Encouraged by experts such as business legend Peter Drucker and Good to Great author Jim Collins to identify the drivers that enable a company to push past the entrepreneurial phase, McFarland spent five years building and analyzing the world’s largest growth-company performance database and interviewing more than 1,500 growth-company executives on four continents. His goal was simple: to identify the secrets of breakthrough.
The Breakthrough Company is the result. Winnowing a study pool of more than 7,000 companies down to nine that have made the transition to major-player status, McFarland highlights real-world tools and myth-busting insights that can be used by anyone wanting his or her business to join this exclusive circle. Among the book’s takeaways:
• Common wisdom holds that the founders and core entrepreneurial leaders of a company must step aside for the business to reach the next level. Not true—as long as founders “crown the company” instead of themselves.
• It’s not reckless to make ever-escalating bets on your company’s future, even going nose to nose with competitors many times your size. In fact, it turns out that the only safety comes in constantly upping the ante in exactly this way.
• A Business Bermuda Triangle does exist, gobbling up companies on the verge of breakthrough. Presented here are three ways to navigate this potentially deadly hazard successfully.
• However good you are—or think you are—you can’t do it alone. Learn how to surround your company with networks of outside resources, aka “scaffolding,” and how to enlist the aid of “insultants”—people who are willing to question a firm’s existing assumptions and ways of doing business.