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Practical Help

Build a billion-dollar business by mastering the essentials.

This story appears in the April 2006 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Seven stepping stones pave the path to building a billion-dollar business--and you'd better put your foot on at least five of them. That's the message of Blueprint to a Billion (Wiley, $27.95). Consultant David G. Thomson scrutinized 250 companies that have gone public since 1980 and reached $1 billion or more in sales and found each had adhered to at least five of seven essential business practices.

The principles include familiar advice such as exploit high-growth markets, master key metrics and partner with someone who balances your skills. More unusual essentials include allying with big companies and seeking marquee customers. Examples, such as how Microsoft rose to the top of Thomson's blueprint company ranking by capitalizing on IBM's support of its PC operating system, buttress his arguments.

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