You don't need the investing acumen of Warren Buffett or the riches of a trust-fund baby to achieve financial success.

Small sums of money invested monthly in undervalued small-cap stocks offer hope for your greatest returns. They offer the best growth opportunities for growth because the big investors mostly ignore them.

Below, we screen for stocks that have a market cap of less than $3 billion and offered earnings surprises of 15% or more in the previous quarter, with long-term earnings growth forecast to be at least 15%. We'll then filter our findings through the collective investing wisdom of the 170,000 members in our Motley Fool CAPS community.

Here are some of the stocks this simple screen found.


Market Cap

EPS Actual vs. Estimated

Avgerage Analyst 5-Year EPS Estimate

CAPS Rating (out of 5)

Internet Capital Group (Nasdaq: ICGE)

$420 million

$0.42 vs. ($0.09)



Limelight Networks (Nasdaq: LLNW)

$483 million

($0.03) vs. ($0.05)



ValueVision Media (Nasdaq: VVTV)

$361 million

($0.08) vs. ($0.45)



Sources: and Motley Fool CAPS.

Of course, this is not a list of stocks to buy -- just a starting point for more research. We need to look more closely at these companies to see whether analysts' faith in them is well founded.

An alternative opportunity
With cloud computing becoming a more concrete concept, Internet Capital Group has found its niche. It started off as a poster child for all that was wrong with the dot-com sock-puppet mania, but it has since changed into a focused portfolio of business-software developers and Internet marketing firms.

But much of the investment company's growth can be attributed to one of its core companies, ICG Commerce, a procurement-services provider that counts both Hertz and Kimberly-Clark (NYSE: KMB) as customers, with each representing 11% and 10% of total revenues last year, respectively. In quarterly earnings reported last month, Commerce saw a 27% jump in revenues, while two other key business, GovDelivery and Investor Force, each saw 30% growth.

Some 85% of the CAPS members rating Internet Capital believe it will outperform the broad market averages, and the nearly two dozen All-Stars weighing in are unanimous in their conviction. Add ICG to your watchlist, but also head over to the Internet Capital Group CAPS page and tell us whether you think it's another bubble about to burst.

What's your address?
The growing popularity of mobile communications -- not just smartphone usage, but also increased video-on-demand and streaming from the likes of Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX) and (Nasdaq: AMZN) -- is causing a spike in mobile media requests.

Limelight Networks says a review of its data shows that over the first five months of 2011, media consumption on its network jumped more than 600% through the end of May, compared with the steady (but markedly lower) progression it had seen last year. Users of Apple's iOS account for the vast majority of mobile video requests, but Android devices are slowly building up, too.

With demand for mobile content not likely to abate anytime soon, it's no wonder 92% of the CAPS members rating Limelight believe it will continue outperforming the broad market averages. Add the content-delivery specialist to your personalized version of the Fool's free portfolio tracker, and keep an eye on how quickly it can grow.

Selling it
The TV show Hoarders seems to show a disproportionate amount of people addicted to home shopping, an indication that the business models of HSN (Nasdaq: HSNI) and ValueVision Media still have some legs. But beyond the disturbed people on the show, direct-to-consumer selling remains a tough business. HSN scrapes by, turning a little more than $0.03 of every dollar generated into profit, while ValueVision hasn't been profitable since 2008.

Last quarter, Value Vision's losses widened by 160%, with distribution costs sapping its strength. Those costs totaled 32% of revenue, compared with less than 14% for HSN. In fairness, those losses expanded because of a $25 million non-cash charge related to extinguishing some preferred stock. Absent that, the loss was just $3.3 million.

Earlier this year, CAPS member Trumpace identified ValueVision as a turnaround story and is looking for the real changes to start showing up next quarter.

The new management team assembled in the past two years brought an experience level that has taken the company from [the abyss to competitive] status that has yet to be recognized, thus IMHO a "hidden gem" to watch.

Double digit increases in sales each quarter going forward [are] a strong possibility [throughout 2011]. With [ValueVision] crossing the [positive] EBITDA in Q3, the next step is to show a profit and that could come this year.

Head over to the ValueVision Media CAPS page and tell us whether you think it's time to start hoarding this stock.

Foolish final thoughts
Stock investing is not brain surgery. Finding good, undervalued companies is not as difficult as the professionals want you to think. You just have to commit to starting now, and do so regularly. Now's the time to begin!

The Motley Fool owns shares of Hertz, Yahoo!, and Google. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Google, Yahoo!, and Kimberly-Clark. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.

Fool contributor Rich Duprey has no financial interest in any of the stocks mentioned in this article. You can see his holdings. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.