When thinking about my own portfolio, I’m usually contemplating whether or not the stocks I own are the right mix and held in the right proportions for my particular risk profile.

Of course, every individual reading this will have his or her own understanding of their own tolerances for risk and this is why portfolios amongst a number of investors can be different.

One investor I know has told me that his preference is for large-cap businesses with proven business models that can grow steadily over time, and another will only invest in companies that are valued at less than $1 billion market capitalisation (perhaps with the hope that less mature companies will have more scope to grow into their market opportunity).

As long as you give yourself time to build your portfolio, then you should hope to eventually own at least 15 stocks that neatly fit into a continuum of large, medium and smaller-sized businesses.

Whether you’re starting a new portfolio today, or attempting to rebalance an existing portfolio, here are three stocks that I think should be considered as a solid foundation to a growing portfolio:

Washington H. Soul Pattinson and Co. Ltd (ASX: SOL)

I look at the share price of this business today at $17 and I’m reminded of my indecision years ago in not buying this stock when it traded below $9.

The company describes itself as an investment house which is pretty close to the mark given it invests in a number of companies across different industries, such as Brickworks Limited (ASX: BKW), TPG Telecom Ltd (ASX: TPM) and Australian Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd (ASX: API).

The company has been a listed company since 1903 so it has a long track record. According to its website, it has increased its ordinary dividends from 6 cents per share in 1996 to 50 cents in 2015, a compound annual growth rate of 11.18%.

With a fully-franked dividend yield of 3%, Soul Pattinson could be an excellent choice for anyone looking to anchor their portfolio with a stable business model.

Burson Group Ltd (ASX: BAP)

Listed only in 2014, Burson is an aftermarket auto parts distributor that has managed to demonstrate, in the short time it has been a listed company, all of the hallmarks that are required for sustained growth in shareholder wealth over time.

Burson’s revenue, gross margins, net profit after tax and dividends per share were all up strongly at the company’s first half 2016 results announcement, but it’s the overall competitive position it has within the Australian market, and its ability to pass on price increases to its customers without there being any effect on revenue, that really has me interested.

Burson is a low(er)-risk stock, is well managed and shows excellent financial performance. With full-year guidance showing earnings-per-share growth of between 24.5% and 29%, Burson should be a core holding for most investors’ portfolios.

National Storage REIT (ASX: NSR)

This is a real-estate investment trust (REIT) that provides storage for just about anything: furniture, business equipment, motor vehicles and even wine.

The company is growing quickly via acquisition throughout Australia and has recently entered the NZ market. What’s important though is whether or not it can grow wealth sustainably for investors, and despite National Storage only being listed for less than three years, it’s comfortably providing the market with earnings that are meeting guidance.

The most recent 2016 half-year results provided for earnings-per-share growth of between 6% and 7.5%. This would be a more than satisfactory performance if achieved, and so far, the market likes what it has seen with shareholders pocketing 27% per annum since the float.

Forget companies cutting dividends like BHP and Rio Tinto when you can get GROWING dividends.

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Motley Fool contributor Edward Vesely owns shares of Burson. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of Burson. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.