We are very lucky here in Dayton, Ohio to have such a wonderful resource at our fingertips called Aileron.

For those of you unfamiliar with Aileron, it is a non-profit dedicated to the small business entrepreneur that was started by Clay Mathile.

Clay Mathile took a small dog food company and built it into the power house it is today, called Iams. After Iams was acquired by Proctor & Gamble, Mr. Mathile took his entrepreneur center and took it to a whole new level with Aileron.

Here at Onstage Publications we have used Aileron since our inception. Recently I attended the annual Course For Presidents alumni gathering, and this got me thinking.

What Aileron has taught us over the years is that one should not be embarrassed or feel defeated to ask for help. Because any smart business owner knows they are not experts in everything.

I will never forget during the great recession, we were looking for anything and everything to help us through such a difficult time. By utilizing Aileron, we realized we were not the only ones and that help was just a request away.

We had several meetings with our Aileron advisor on a strategy to help us get through one of the worst times of my life. But what Aileron also gave us were connections. They gave us the connections to bring on professional help in which we were not experts. And this took our business from looking into the abyss to being stronger than we have ever been.

By acknowledging our weaknesses, and understanding our strengths, we are truly running our business as opposed to our business running us.

During that difficult time, we tried new lines of business that were quite different from our expertise of selling advertising and publishing performing arts program books. But these failed quickly, because these things were not our core expertise.

And I think herein lies the secret to any successful business, or performing arts organization for that matter. By understanding your strengths and concentrating on these wholeheartedly, it is pretty hard to fail. But once you diverge from your strengths, thinking you can do it all, this is a sure path to failure.

As I was at the reception I couldn’t help but look back on that time not too long ago. And as difficult as it was, I think it was the greatest thing that could have ever happened to Onstage Publications. Good selling!

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