Successful growth investing entails identifying those elite businesses that are poised to deliver many years of consistently strong increases in revenue and profits. Companies that do tend to reward their shareholders with market-crushing returns.
The tips that follow were derived from lessons from several investing legends. They can help you find the next great growth stocks, and earn you a fortune along the way.
1. Quality matters.
The best businesses often turn out to be the best investments. Here's what Motley Fool co-founder and legendary investor David Gardner has to say on the subject:
"I try to find excellence, buy excellence, and add to excellence over time. I sell mediocrity. That's how I invest." - @DavidGFool— Rule Breaker Podcast (@RBIPodcast) January 5, 2017
These best growth companies are those with the strongest competitive advantages, largest market opportunities, and best management. They are the innovators, disruptors, and best of breed. And they tend to create tremendous wealth for their shareholders as they lead the world forward.
2 & 3. Get in early, and don't hold out for a bargain-price moment.
The earlier you invest in a great business, the more you can profit as other investors catch on to the company's success. This is where fortunes are made, where the 10- and even 100-baggers are found, and how truly life-changing returns can be achieved.
However, investors often miss out on these opportunities because the stocks of the best early-stage growth companies almost always look expensive, except in the rear-view mirror. And so while we can certainly attempt to buy stock in these businesses at great prices, we should also be willing to pay a premium for quality. The last thing we want to do is miss out on a multi-bagger because we set our buy price just a few percentage points too low.
4. Buy stocks with the intent of holding them for as long as you possibly can.
Warren Buffett has said his "favorite holding period is forever." Here at the Motley Fool, our CEO and master investor Tom Gardner has implemented a minimum five-year holding period requirement in his Everlasting Portfolio, because he, too, is a big believer in the power of long-term stock ownership. And David Gardner -- who leads one of the best-performing high-growth investment-advisory services in the world -- recently described a core aspect of his philosophy this way:
The two keys to my investment approach, stock by stock: In before the vast majority of others, and out after the vast majority of others.— David Gardner (@DavidGFool) April 12, 2016
By striving to purchase stocks in businesses that we're willing to hold for years -- and potentially even decades -- we allow the magic of tax-deferred compound growth to work in our favor.
5. Winners tend to keep on winning.
This is another valuable lesson I learned from Tom and David Gardner. I like to invest in companies and management teams with proven track records of success. That's because I, too, believe the idea David expressed so well in the following tweet.
Foolish take on that disclaimer we all know: "Past performance" may very well be the single *best* indicator of future results that we have.— David Gardner (@DavidGFool) October 24, 2016
It certainly is no guarantee, but I believe winning is a habit. The confidence and momentum achieved from past wins tends to pave the way for further risk-taking. Not blind risk-taking predicated on arrogance, but prudent, calculated bets based on optimistic and opportunistic views of a brighter future.
6. Make your portfolio your best expression of the world.
David Gardner once urged me to "Find out where the world is going, and get there as soon as possible." Your portfolio should reflect your passions, interests, field of study, and profession -- this is where your edge lies. But most of all, your portfolio should be positioned according to your vision of the future -- and the more optimistic, the better.
7. Never quit.
There will be times when you throw up your hands in frustration and question whether growth investing is worth all the trouble. Seemingly irrational short-term volatility and vicious bear market declines tend to be brutal on high-quality yet often premium-priced growth stocks. These difficult market periods can wreak havoc on your emotions. However, the only way to win is to stay the course through the inevitable downturns.
It's hard as an investor to learn how to be wrong in the short-term -- often substantially so -- in order to be very right in the long term.— Tom Gardner (@TomGardnerFool) March 31, 2016
Steel yourself with the knowledge that this, too, shall pass, and that your best-of-breed businesses will likely emerge from the rubble even stronger as they take market share from their weaker rivals. That will help you learn to look at these sell-offs as opportunities to add to your positions at even better prices, and magnify your long-term gains.