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Consultant's touch raises venture capital

PHOENIX - Tina Janke's second-floor consulting office is a surreal combination of a country kitchen, an abstract art gallery and the flamboyant streets of New Orleans.

There are no leather chairs or mahogany credenza. Gold desk accessories and framed accomplishment certificates wouldn't really fit in.

Janke's stacks of hand-painted, intentionally mismatched file cabinets hold the treasures of her trade - information, personal contacts, databases of names and telephone numbers, almost everything necessary to help her clients build their businesses.

Almost.

Janke's funky decorating style hints at her dynamic approach to helping a business grow - hers or anybody else's. It doesn't, however, belie her no-nonsense approach to getting results.

Janke's TJ Consulting offers marketing campaign design and execution, business education and coaching, and help in finding venture capital.

Janke's success comes from fusing imagination with hard-earned business sense.

Her background includes stints at the helm of a number of small businesses, sales and marketing positions, and small business education.

Her first question - "What is it you want to do?"

Janke has refined the art of quick response. From her developed networks, resources and funding sources, she extracts what her clients ask for ... and much more.

"I'm willing to take (clients) to the next level," Janke said. "But the big question is, 'Do you want to be there, once you're there?'"

Linda Lee, of ArtSit Furniture in Ashland, credits Janke with providing the help to move her small-town upholstery shop to a nationally distributed specialty furniture designer.

"She tends to push, which is good, because I need to be pushed," Lee said.

Janke's "push" initially landed Lee's designs a feature spot in Renovation Style magazine, and later encouraged her to develop a Web site to broaden her exposure."

"She's also really good at pulling things together," Lee said. "She can see a bigger picture than I can see. ... She thinks five years down the road.

"I'm just a small-town seamstress upholsterer," Lee added. "And now, I've opened up my potential to allow the world to see my work ... . My art has developed at a more rapid pace because of that."

"Basically, I get people published," Janke said of her marketing blitzes. "It's mostly product-driven, but I do some service-oriented businesses."

Kick-starting businesses has become Janke's forte. She aims to give her clients the kind of exposure they need to build credibility. She has also attracted venture capital to Rogue Valley companies like BrickRoth Inc.

BrickRoth markets Gripeez, an ergonomic grip designed to help people who have trouble grasping objects like toothbrushes and eating utensils. It was invented by Ashland dentists Karla and Randy Rothfus.

"She said 'I can help you but you'll need to do a lot of work,' which is exactly what I wanted to hear," said BrickRoth general manager James Bergene. "She sat us down and taught us how business works. She listened to our whines and moans ... and then told us what we needed to hear."

Janke connected BrickRoth with brokers the company needed to mass-market Gripeez.

Janke is now expanding her business to "the next level," finding room for TJOnline, a Web-based application arm to TJ Consulting. When up and running, it will allow clients access to a comprehensive package of small business resources for a fee.

Business associate Mike Jeffries says TJOnline is an extension of Janke's method of doing things effectively.

"Her Internet business is just an extension of her original business," Jeffries said.

Assisting Janke with the development of TJOnline, Jeffries said small businesses will benefit from the online service's low cost and expansive resources as a fraction of the cost of traditional consultants.

TJOnline will launch into its "beta" stage soon, with full market testing within a few months, Janke said.

Reach reporter Shari Downhill at 776-4463, or e-mail