For Subscribers

Soaring With Your Core

Your business's growth potential lies not in its margins, but in its foundation.

By Mark Henricks

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The familiar cliché "stick to your knitting" isone of the oldest business bromides around, but it's never beenexplored as Bain & Co. consultants Chris Zook and James Allendo in Profit From the Core (Harvard Business School Press, $27.50),a concise, compelling report on why and how to figure out exactlywhat your company does best-and then do it. The two boil downthe findings of a 10-year, 2,000-company study into three keytraits that differentiate companies that grow from those thatstagnate. First, they say, growth companies reach full potential intheir core businesses before trying anything new. Second, when theyexpand, growth companies look toward adjacent businesses ratherthan hot industries that are far afield. Third, growth companiescan, and do, radically redefine their core operations when dealingwith quickly changing markets.

These simple and yet powerful ideas emerge smoothly andconvincingly from the mass of data and techniques Zook and Allenhave compiled, but there are paradoxes. For instance, companiesconsistently found the greatest untapped potential in divisionsthat were already performing well. Sound surprising? Well, thereare many such profound revelations to be discovered here.

Continue reading this article — and all of our other premium content with Entrepreneur+

For just $5, you can get unlimited access to all Entrepreneur’s premium content. You’ll find:

  • Digestible insight on how to be a better entrepreneur and leader
  • Lessons for starting and growing a business from our expert network of CEOs and founders
  • Meaningful content to help you make sharper decisions
  • Business and life hacks to help you stay ahead of the curve

Related Topics

Editor's Pick

Have More Responsibilities at Work, But No Pay Bump? Use This Script to Get the Raise You Deserve.
Black and Asian Founders Face Opposition at All Levels — Here's Why That Has to Change
Business News

This OnlyFans Star Was Once Part of a Fanatical MLM Cult. "I Was Forced Into Celibacy."

Cami Strella was lured into a multilevel marketing scheme but escaped to start her own six-figure-a-month business.


Invest in Yourself: 10 Things Every Working Woman Should Do This Year

When striving for success, it is easy to forget about your mental and physical health. But without health, you cannot fully succeed. Follow these ten lifestyle strategies for success in your personal and professional life.


5 Reasons Why Your Brand Needs a Strong Social Media Presence

Social media has replaced traditional media, so it's time to funnel your marketing budget into a better, more reliable strategy


Get Two Wireless Chargers for Just $19.99

Create an efficient workplace by clearing the clutter in your office.