Thursday, July 28, 2011

{ i d e a } The home 'boardroom' lunch!


I woke this morning with an idea I would love to get off the ground! Tell me what you think/ if you can join me to 'make it happen'.

I, like you have been inspired by the lovely people I am connecting with via my blog & facebook page - those in their own business - either startup, early growth or want to start one  (Hi Steph, Lisa, Caroline, Nancy, Alexx, Naomi, Kirralee, Melinda, Alice to name a few). We all seem to be in similar stage of life (mostly mums) & business and to be honest are smart & savvy & I suspect crave to meet like minded people.

As we work from home we do so much online & yes it is a great world, but we quickly loose contact with the 'other world', so my idea is to take advantage of our 'fortunate' setup and share a little more 'in person' to help us & our biz grow. Of course there are the networking groups, and industry functions but i am thinking wouldn't it be good to have an intimate 'biz' lunch - aka the board room lunch but at home!

I'd host a lunch for 10-12 of us with good food & wine & we could talk biz!  What better place could there be....our home, the hub of our world, where the food is great (i'll be cooking so maybe we'll make that judgement later), the room creative (yes you can also see how i set myself up) & maybe, depending on how the idea develops I get a sitter to ensure you can get here. (my little Ciara has to go to pre-school 12.30 to 3.30 so I will need help!)

This is the start of what I hope will be a good idea! We need to flesh it out a bit more & I don't know if you live in Sydney (I do - 8 mins from the Harbour Bridge) but if you do, let's start the ball rolling and create a great 'home biz lunch event'. Topics? Timing? Guest list, friend invites, 'screening/criteria' etc

Would be best to keep the discussion in one place ie here but i will put detail on FB too ...let's just see how it takes shape and then I will co-ordinate ideas, & confirm details via email.

Warm regards,

Where we would have our biz lunch event!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Google Apps for biz email/using own Domain

I mentioned earlier that I wanted to set up my business email on my laptop via Apple Mail (or if you are a PC user Outlook)

One of the easiest ways (with bells and whistles) is to use Gmail for business via something known as Google Apps which allows you to use your own domain name.


Week 2, Term 3 of pre-school and into my first 6 child free (nearly) day ahead of me after 2 months of disruption (sickness, school hols, no sitter, no day care / swap to pre-school). Having a  'nanny' 2 to 3 mornings pw will mean that I will have back my 15 hrs during the week. WooHoo.

My week now looks something like this...not that you can read it! But the point is I need to keep re- organising our family as things change so that we can do the things we need and want to do. I'd love to just cruise....but I admit, I am born to set goals!! And tho I am doing this biz part time, i use my e-diary on my computer and sync it in with my phone and little alarm bells keep going off....the kids are's time to go to pre-school or swimming or (mummy needs to work) etc and it alerts me as i don't wear a watch any more and sometimes 'events' such as kids photo's at pre-school (eee today!) or a PC meeting (tonight...another eeee need to do fundraising report) can slip by!!!

Sorry for talking 'me" but I thought it may help you take the step and see how others 'get organised'

Friday, July 22, 2011

feeling chuffed - blog being tracked by my google analytics

It's taken a few attempts to wrap my brain around it but finally i have added my blog to google analytics. If you do have a Blogger blog finding the right piece of advice was the linch pin to getting it working as according to their instructions i had to insert code into the site....insert what, where was my initial reaction (so I walked away - x2) but, yes, the instructions really were easy to follow once I went a bit further, and realised I had a template with a html code section to modify!  So, if you are not tracking ALL your sites via Google Analytics, get a glass of red wine, relax and start again following Google Analytics simple instructions as you go (not their forums or help searches)!

Protecting IP

I wrote this post a few months ago but waited till my trademarks were approved..the letter came in the post today! This approach has been gleaned from my experience......

Protecting your brand is paramount - especially when you are as transparent as I am!  And using names, logo designs, tags lines and other graphics that are not already in use goes without $aying. There are several areas you must check simultaneously to ensure you are not stepping on anyones toes and to ensure you cover yourself and $trengthen your brand. It is also good to know that when you start using a name/trading in a market then you actually have rights to it!

That is why it is really hard & important at a start up stage to a fair idea on what territories you will be selling to in the future so you can secure that market or be able to legally trade in it.

1) Registered Domains: I did a search last month when I revealed my brand name and registered a few variations. For about $12 for 12 months per name, it is not a huge investment.

As I wrote the sales & marketing strategy I am came up with some promotional ideas that I think will work really well. I have checked out domain availability and can see that this must be a relatively untouched area  (ie i got .com's I wanted) as i was able to add all these delicious terms to my brand portfolio (cost in total $102 for 24 months!)

Obviously i can't sit on these names, I must use them or loose them.

2) Trademarks.  Bottom line is, every region in the world has a different register and each class you register in costs more money. You can do it yourself or use an expert but, bottom line it add$ up. You can register words or a word mark &/or tag line. 

Obviously, my first territory to sell product will be Australia. Europe - especially english speaking UK is attractive and thankfully falls under EU umbrella. As for Asia - yes I want to sell here in the future - China, Japan, where else? As for the USA .....the world is your & some one else's oyster!

Interesting - things have got simpler in the last decade! I just found out that in 2001 the Madrid commenced which means I can apply for trademarks to those countries that are members: good news - my targets all are! See  &  for a list of the member countries. 

Back to Oz  - IP Australia  is the place for trademarks: There is a Head Start area for first time users...looks good. I have a little experience on trademarks so I am pretty confident that my searches have turned up nothing that will compete so I am using the online facility to pay $120 per trademark per class and then will pay a $250 registration once they are check & hopefully approved.
luk beautifood as a graphic in class 3 is the first cab off the rank. 

3.) Name Search site lists all Australian ABN registered entities whether they be a name, company   I have checked all my words and are clear.

I hope this gives you a little clarity if you are wondering where to start.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Stats - behind the scenes

Thought you may like know what the results of the ABN In her Shoes review did to the numbers on my blog.  Firstly I posted it on to the luk by Cindy Luken Facebook page ( & personal page - friends only) & the status section of Linked in & StartupSmart and my Twitter went out via the FB page listing.

ABN have over 12000 members and promote their activities extensively via social media such as FB, Twitter, blog, email newsletters  etc. When the e-news landed in my inbox I quickly joined as a Startup members to assist the process.

There were 300 hits on my blog day 1, yesterday a 100 and today just a few. These are the screen shots. I used 'all time" as the date period which means 6 months but you can see key dates within that.

Scribus - Open Source desk top publishing programme

Quick update - all good with new files but struggling to open or import any existing files that are a jpg, tif or ai or ANYTHING.  On researching jpg are an issue (fullstop) but the others should be alright but it goes on about early versions etc when trying to open or import. DO NOT HAVE TIME or KNOW-HOW for this.  Need to revisit.  

NPD Update - food for thought

I had a telecon (do you still call them that?) with my contract manufacturer yesterday (Business manager & lab mgr + team) and the good news is ....the 'fixed' packaging' is 3 weeks into it's stability & compatibility trials and they are perfect. Last time we saw cracks week 2 more months to go and we will know. Then 3 months lead time on packaging and we just scrape in, we miss Xmas. Or, I take a calculated risk and order early to maximise the best gifting period of the year. Food for thought. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

my inbox - In Her Shoes Interview!

Look what popped in to my inbox from Suzi & her wonderful team at Australian Business Woman's Network!!  I'm not game to view it yet. (but very happy with her images & blurb!)  Better get a latte and take a deep breath....
Here is the link: online interview with Suzi Dafnis @ ABN

[if you are new to my story..start at the beginning (feb this year) when i start to work out what i want!...hope it inspires you too :) x ]

Saturday, July 16, 2011

creating inhouse promotional material

I mentioned a little while ago that i wanted to find a free desk top publishing programming similar to Adobe Illustrator or In Design. I want to create some brochures & flyers and don't want to use a Mac Pages or MS Word doc to create them as I want some features such as kerning (spread your letters), more sophisticated image manipulation and have the ability to 'layer' the design.

After 20 minutes online, I have worked out several exist and are known as "open source" programmes. The one that looked best for me is known as 'Scribus'. I went to and downloaded the 140meg file, installed it on my Mac, added something called ghostscript, and started to using it pretty soon thereafter. I have had a few goes in Adobe Illustrator and therefore had a bit of a feel on how it was going to work but never less found some tutorials on line to get me started. See Show me do - Dai.

Woohoo. Am impressed!!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

setting up my 'work' email

Cannot believe I have been defeated and had to call to expert tech help [hi Dale :) ]. All I want is for my emails at the lukbeautifood domain (purchased via my Webeden web builder so everything is one place) to come into my inbox on my mac and send from there.

Using the Gmail service for business is the best way of doing this but I can't get any of the 4 ways to prove my ownership of the domain to work.....all because I am using an online web builder package for my website and can't upload the files of input the code into the right spots (what ever that means!!)

So....won't be long and I will be looking very pro!!

Monday, July 11, 2011

my Website build

The website for luk beautifood is starting to take shape (, slowly slowly as i am using it as a design platform to create the brand offer.  In other words I am doing it myself - despite being a scientist I am a very visual person so i have jotted down my objectives, gathered some ideas, sketched my linkage layout for a helicopter view, made a 'wish list', took some photographs and have just started to 'create' using an online web builder rather than writing myself a brief and writing all the copy in a document. 

For $100 or there about pa provide me with a pretty amazing package (click & paste web building tool, domain name, email addresses, storage, SEO, membership tools, lots of widgets etc).  I am pretty experienced with it now as I created our french barging holiday website using it ( & setup my 'bestest friend's Scooter boutique ( on it too. It is simple to use & has bucket load of creative freedom. I can get something up and running pretty quickly, roll out pages out as i go, make as many changes as I want.  

You can create your own forms etc and create a login for members so it has some pretty nice stuff. I will however need to use an additional email marketing provider as it is a little too basic for my needs. Something like is looking good, has a few very nice features that will enable me to manage my 'contacts' saving me time and ensuring a professional service, lots of people are using but after reading this review I think the answer is easy. NB: july 22 - just added this review which gives more clarity: think traffic net - switch from mailchimp to Aweber grew biz 

Webeden has a shop but to be honest it is so basic I have hunted elsewhere and just popped one on. You ready.... it took 2 hrs to find sitting in front of the fire on Friday night BUT 15 minutes to set up today with some pretty smart design effects and operational capabilities including the ability to add a shop to my Facebook site & Blog and be Iphone user friendly. It works by seamlessly adding a snazzy button up the top RHS of my website and on entering darken's the background and creates it's own little intimate boutique....completely tailored to Australian market...for $9.95 pm no contracts.  Woohoo!  NOTE update 26/7: I need to re-check using the site live / insertion of code as Alice tried using it and could not get it to work. Sorry - stay posted til I re-check later in the week. 

phasing the rollout
By doing the above I am keeping to my goal of low entry cost to biz + automating many components. It is not the full on operating model that I desire. ie fully integrated shop, stock management, invoice, accounts, CRM,  streamlined system BUT after extensive research I can't get that unless I spend a lot more, so I figure to begin with I will phase it:

a)  Test market: start with above web/shop model + import data from spreadsheet into Saasu Online Accounting (will discuss that in another post)
b)  Streamline: Most likely move to the Neto product - an Australian E-commerce website with CRM automatically that integrates with Saasu. 
c) Ultimate: Find an all-in-one like Netsuite but much easier to use and with powerful CRM & e-marketing capabilities.

the results!
Here is pic from the front page of my website (yes, my pics from last week!), I will start making my own videos so I will add a little personal 'welcome' in a few days...just so you know the real me! The site has a sign up section please sign up and stay in the loop so you know when I will (eventually!) launch and to ensure you taste the first samples of my lippy! (BTW I have not added the auto response section yet so be patient with me.....there is only so much a mum can do!)

Here is the great looking store I am adding to the above offer:

Saturday, July 9, 2011

registering your own domain name

Just realised that I have never registered my own name as a domain. ie If you have a profile in industry or wish to build one it is such an important a$$et. Lucky for me I was available!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

creative juices flowing

This is week 1 of school hols and I have nothing organised for the kids as I am in mixed minds on how to handle it. The one gift i really want to give my children is to self-amuse or self play, my thinking is....if i have a pile of things set up for them then all i am doing is playing taxi driver and handing them activities on a plate.

So what has happened this week (corresponding with the cool gale force non out door weather) is I've got behind the camera and have been styling and taking pictures for luk. I had some great image grabs off Getty & iPhoto but when i started to cost was money i did not want to spend. My website needs a massive number of pics as there is a full foodie glossary included.

I set up in the dining room with morning sun streaming in, grabbed some props and just started shooting. We have a great Nikon with big lense so i can get in nice and close & get that fuzzy background look. With a computer sitting next to me I just took pics, down loaded, sorted, changed props and re-set up to get the right tones and just kept going. We have had music playing loud and amazingly the kids just played. Still don't know why it is working.

My first goal has been to get the landing page of my web site for looking half decent. I use Picasa by Google to sort all my pics, crop, re-size/shape and touch up. They are now linked in with Picnik so I can easily do more work to them there like for example rounding off the corners. I still can't believe that both these programs are free. All I have to do now is source the equivalent of Adobe Illustrator and i will be set!  Suggestions welcome please if you have free download software recommendations that will enable me to create and manipulate logo's, create simple brochures and flyers etc. BTW - I have a Mac and I am not adverse to paying but refuse to spend $1000's on an Adobe suite.

I have really enjoyed the last few days and know that that the next few weeks will be just as satisfying as i bring my brand to life via the camera.  These are few pics from 'behind the lense'.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

luk beautifood brand graphics

It may be chilly outside but it's warm and cosy at my desk - perfect weather for playing around on my computer and finalising the look of my brand!

Morganna who use to work for me at Luken & May (oh dear - over a decade ago) is a freelance designer (& young mum) created the beautiful luk workmark / long before Ciara was born! I think it is very simple, beautiful & understated. Morganna also designed some gorgeous graphics with a seed and the seed shooting but i have put these aside for now as I pair back the brand and allow the essence - 'beauty from food' via photography to come to the forefront.

I have pulled together a few pages on the graphic element so you can see where my design thoughts are. I have applied this to the simple little website i am creating (another story) - I am very pleased with the results. It's really important to love what you are creating and feel good about it, in the beginning, you are the one that is promoting your product and business with all your heart (& time!). 

The thing I have to keep reminding myself with luk beautifood is to keep it simple & the establishment costs low by using what is at hand. Today, there is so much available online to make you look like a million dollars without costing a cent. I have used a little dash as a design graphic because it is in any program (online web design, ppt, word, etc) and i can use this design feature easily in what ever collateral I create. As the brand grows the graphics can evolve to keep it fresh. I know i am probably breaking branding rules - but who cares, it is mine and its quick & easy!

This is the link to the Brand graphics document {} and below are a few ppt jpegs which of course are ©  COPYRIGHT to my company Luken & Co. Pty Ltd. Morganna can be contacted on

Love to hear what you think. 
(BTW - luk from luken has umlauts (little dots above the u) because my family name is German - Hi dad!)