It takes leadership and vision.

Building your business requires both leadership and management and the first step in that journey is understanding the difference between the two. Leadership is the ability to make things happen by encouraging and channeling others' contributions, addressing important issues and acting as a catalyst for change and continuous improvement. Management is the skill of attaining predefined objectives with others' cooperation and effort.

The best partner companies, like other successful organizations, are led by individuals who have clear vision -- and the ability to establish specific objectives for working toward their organizational goals. Executives at partner companies that have leveled off, stalled or are struggling to break even may lack both vision and objectives.

An executive vision should address the following questions:

  • What does your organization look like now? What will it look like in three years in terms of revenues, number of employees and specialty areas?
  • How do you define success? What will the company's net worth be in three years? What are its profit goals?
  • How do you want to be known by your clients, your competitors, the business community -- and by your vendors?
  • What's your ultimate goal? Do you have an exit strategy that calls for acquiring other companies or being acquired yourself? Or do you want to build a long-term corporate organization?