The nonprofit continues to mold promising companies for future growth.
In traveling to Kitty Hawk, N.C., the Wright brothers had to take two trains, a steam ship, another train and a sailboat before they arrived at their destination.
The historical trip to North Carolina is engraved in an Aileron hallway and serves as a reminder of the path to success. Like the Wright Brothers, many up-and-coming businesses face tribulations when it comes to reaching their intended goals.
“The big issues never change,” says Joni Fedders, president of Aileron. “But the problem for a growing business today is the world is moving so fast, and it’s not slowing down.”
Since 1996, the nonprofit organization has assisted business owners maneuvering through growing challenges. Located on a 114-acre plot of land, the 70,000-square-foot facility is tucked away in a serene environment where business leaders can take their staff on a nature walk or contemplate future practices by a campfire.
“[Entrepreneurs] can remove themselves from the everyday stresses and reflect about their businesses in this environment,” says Fedders. “It helps to clarify personal values and align those with the company they serve.”
After Clay Mathile, former CEO and owner of Iams, sold his company to Procter & Gamble for $2.3 billion in 1999, he endowed Aileron with $150 million and a facility. As a strong proponent of free enterprise, Mathile took Iams from a small pet food manufacturer to an international leader in the market.
With his assistance, Aileron has assisted about 3,000 entrepreneurs and business leaders whose companies post $1 to $100 million in annual sales.
While growth is a welcome sign for all companies, unmanaged progress can quickly negate it. One of the many pitfalls of growth remains delegating responsibility to company leaders.
“When you first start, you’re the quarterback, then you’re the coach, then you’re the GM, then you become the owner of the team,” says Fedders. “It can get very complex if you’re not ready and you don’t have the right people in place.”
Whether it’s educating entrepreneurs on strategy, leadership or hiring, Aileron can assist managers and leaders with a range of challenges.
“We have a variety of advisors from different industries, with different skill sets,” says Fedders. “They have all been in [the business leaders’] shoes before.”
Located just north of Interstate 70 and within hours of Indianapolis, Columbus and Cincinnati business communities, Aileron attracts high-level business owners throughout the Tristate and the nation.
With Aileron’s professional management system, also known as the DOC system (direction, operation and control), managers and leaders can shift focus from day-to-day operation to establishing long-term direction. The nonprofit offers courses for presidents, managers and senior executives, as well as services for the entire company.