Daily Herald
Create your own investors
By Jim Kendall | Columnist
Published: 7/9/2009 3:22 PM

Contrary to what almost everybody else says, Stefania Aulicino says money is available for small businesses. Even better, most of it comes without the strings often attached to loans - or to investments.

The kicker, if there is one, is that Aulicino's Cash And Control System (cashandcontrol.com) requires the business owner's belief that her approach can work. In other words, you have to be willing to participate.

Aulicino is president of CapitalLinkUSA Inc., Chicago. She also is a former commercial banker and investment banker who understands the always interesting relationships between entrepreneurs and investors. "Is money available for small businesses? Absolutely," she says. "It's just not in the traditional system."

We're not talking juice loans or your begging on the corner with a signboard and tin cup. Aulicino really does seem to know where money lives today. She also has a history of connecting business owners with investors who do not typically demand control in exchange for dollars.

"Entrepreneurs create their own products," Aulicino says. "And they create their own customers. Why is it so unusual to think that entrepreneurs can also create their own investors?

"Entrepreneurs have their own currency - their passion," she continues. "They can create a future to their own specifications and attract resources. Can-do people are very attractive to a large number of people."

That's the condensed version of Aulicino's approach: Going businesses that have a rational growth strategy - if necessary, she can help you put your plan in a marketable form - can attract investors.

Aulicino offers help through a workbook, e-mails or participation in her ROE2 seminars (ROE2 is Aulicino's shorthand for return on the equity and energy you're already investing).

"Entrepreneurs think they must get all their money from one source. But it's a mosaic approach," Aulicino says. "You can get $50,000 here, $25,000 there."

What you must do, Aulicino will tell you, is "farm your ecosystem. Notice who is in your ecosystem. Think about all the different people in your life who are interested in your success."

Who lives in your ecosystem? Vendors. Customers. Sometimes fellow Little League parents, one of whom offered an Aulicino client $150,000 after listening to what began as a casual conversation about the business owner's ideas for expansion.

"Be creative," Aulicino says. "The reality is that entrepreneurs are not risk takers. They're risk managers."

For investors, the difference can be appealing.

Send questions, comments to Jim Kendall, jkendall @121MarketingResources.com

2009, 121 Marketing Resources Inc.