Successful investing often comes down to pattern recognition. The ability to spot early-stage companies that possess the same characteristics that helped other businesses achieve fantastic success can make you rich.

Read on to learn about one small-cap company that bears a striking resemblance to one of the best fortune-building stocks of all time.

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For more than five decades, Warren Buffett has used the profits generated by Berkshire Hathaway's (NYSE:BRK.A) (NYSE:BRK.B) operating subsidiaries to invest in other businesses. This powerful wealth-building formula has delivered incredible returns for investors. Boston Omaha (NASDAQ:BOMN) aims to use a similar growth strategy, and one of its co-CEOs, Alex Rosek, also just happens to be Buffett's grandnephew.

Boston Omaha, with its $435 million market capitalization, is tiny compared to the $500 billion behemoth that Berkshire has become. But Berkshire wasn't always so enormous, and Boston Omaha has the potential to become much larger in the coming decade.

A strong foundation

Currently, Boston Omaha's primary operating businesses are surety insurance and billboard advertising. While that may sound like a peculiar combination, both businesses operate in large markets with attractive profit dynamics.

The global surety industry will produce nearly $29 billion in annual revenue by 2027, according to, up from $15 billion in 2018. Surety is a form of insurance that guarantees payment to one party if another party fails to fulfill the terms of their agreement. Surety policies typically have attractive loss ratios -- essentially, the amount an insurance company pays out in claims divided by the premiums it collects -- which can make them highly profitable over time.

The billboard industry, meanwhile, benefits from the limited supply of space where these physical ad structures can be erected. In turn, billboards tend to produce attractive returns on investment and solid recurring cash flow. 

Boston Omaha is expanding its market share in both surety insurance and billboards via acquisitions. The company's Link Media Outdoor subsidiary recently purchased the outdoor advertising assets of Image Outdoor Advertising, adding another 226 billboard faces to its portfolio. Link now operates approximately 3,000 billboard structures containing 5,600 advertising faces. 

Many ways to win

Boston Omaha also holds stakes in other businesses, including a regional bank, a homebuilder, and a commercial real estate company. Rosek and co-CEO Adam Peterson intend to take a Buffett-like approach here, investing in businesses they deem to be undervalued that possess attractive growth prospects. As such, Rosek and Peterson's ability to allocate capital at high rates of return to the company's own operating subsidiaries and other attractive businesses should give Boston Omaha a vast supply of growth opportunities. 

Better still, Boston Omaha's stock can currently be had for only about 1.3 times book value. That's a bargain price for a high-quality business that could compound its profits -- and by extension, your wealth -- for many years to come.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.