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.
Vivek Ranadivé tells how Wal-Mart studied Floridians' shopping patterns after Hurricane Charlie and stocked its Sunshine State stores accordingly when Frances made landfall just three weeks later. That's what he calls "predictive business." In The Power to Predict (McGraw-Hill, $29.95), the bestselling business author shows you how to boost your predictive power by appropriately structuring your business, deploying technology and analyzing data flows.