If I asked you to describe the ideal company, what would you say? No, no, I'm not asking you to tick off your favorite members of the Fortune 500 or some up-and-comer small cap that you've just found. I want you to think about the characteristics you'd give a company if you could dream it right into existence.

Would it be in a particular industry? Would it be services- or product-based? Would it have fat profit margins or would it make its money by doing a huge volume?

We could spend all day going over the details of this Galatea of the business world, but I would guess that there is at least one aspect that we'd all include in our creation -- growth. All those other details are great, but how interesting can a business be if it's stagnating and lacks avenues for expansion?

Turning back to reality, I have dug up a handful of companies that actually exist and are expected to post significant growth in the years to come. These companies may not all be the picture of perfection, but I've also consulted the 135,000 members of the Motley Fool's CAPS community to get an idea of which are our best bets in the group.


Expected Long-Term Growth

TTM Price-to-Earnings Ratio

CAPS rating
(out of 5)

Dolby Laboratories (NYSE:DLB)












Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE:WMT)




Burlington Northern Santa Fe (NYSE:BNI)




Source: Capital IQ, a division of Standard & Poor's; Yahoo! Finance; and CAPS.
TTM = trailing 12 months. NM = not meaningful.

While these aren't meant to be formal recommendations, they could be a great place to kick off further research. In fact, let's dig in a bit further on Garmin.

Fueling the growth
If we're talking about the just-released second-quarter results for Garmin, then we can say that the growth was fueled by what appears to be a whiff of economic recovery. Though Garmin's total revenue was down 27% from the second quarter of last year, the company posted a smoking-hot 53% revenue bump from this year's first quarter.

And as long as we're talking high points, the company also showed some nice efficiency gains and registered both gross and operating margins above last year's.

Longer term though, the promise for Garmin is to continue expanding its already market-leading personal navigation franchise. While there may still be opportunity in more mature markets like the North American auto market, the company has been attacking product areas like outdoor and fitness, and geographies like Asia, which look ripe for growth.

Naturally, the going will be very tough until consumers start to get a little more confident that an economic recovery has set in, but Garmin has a strong brand and a rock-solid balance sheet that should help it see sunny days on the other side of this downturn.

Perfection or poser?
With a rating of three stars out of five, CAPS members apparently feel that Garmin is a long way from perfection. Much of the pessimism stems from the competitive pressures that the company faces from smartphone makers like Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM).

However, more than 5,000 members of the CAPS community (including yours truly) have rated Garmin an outperformer. Why are these members so positive? To get a taste, let's take a look at what Garmin bull sudhitatti had to say when giving the stock a thumbs-up last month:

They have a good team in place which reads the market well and is responding to it in a timely and effective manner. Actions currently being taken by the management (M&A, downsizing, repositioning themselves for new business climate) will benefit the company in the long run. Market place is currently pricing this stock below their long term potential. Coming shake out in GPS market will benefit Garmin greatly.

I've already given Garmin's stock a thumbs-up in my CAPS portfolio, so now I want to know what you think. Share your thoughts in the comments section below or, better still, head over to CAPS and share your opinion with the entire CAPS community.

Further Foolishness:

Apple and Dolby Laboratories are Motley Fool Stock Advisor selections. Garmin is a Motley Fool Global Gains pick. First Solar is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendation. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days

Fool contributor Matt Koppenheffer does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned in this article. You can check out what Matt is keeping an eye on by visiting his CAPS portfolio, or you can follow Matt on Twitter @KoppTheFool. The Fool's disclosure policy wonders if there are any agnostic mantises out there.