Tuesday, August 23, 2011

back to core business!

It has been a great couple of weeks but when you work <15hrs a week and ideas outside of your core biz gathers momentum it sure take you off your path. Good lesson but lesson well learned and that is:
- there is a need for home based biz owners to meet in person on an intimate level to share, connect & learn.
- when you are active online doing something that people need/love, your numbers move. I know it is obvious but i saw the power of it which motivates me for the launch of my real biz - luk beautifood. This site/s are my experimental table, where i research, test and implement not to mention meet like-minded people, open doors and get insights into what I didn't know existed.

So today & tomorrow in my 6 hrs is all about getting my sales tool kit finalised so I can do those vital trade presentation to 'catch up big fish' to cash roll my starting stock for online consumer sales! Confused ....see my biz plan via slideshare on the RHS of this blog.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Stats - behind the scenes #2

Just thought I'd share with you what is happening at my luk by Cindy Luken Facebook page this August. The Tab of Fab idea started end July so I am guessing this is the main activity that is causing the growth but the interest suddenly kicked off August 8.  What's of note is that there are nearly 3x more anonymous 'likers' than official likers. Anyone have thoughts on why or do you experience this too?  What do your page stats look like?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Facebook Page set up for Table of Fabulousness

Now that this idea has sprouted, I have moved the discussions on the Home Boardroom Lunch to a dedicated site so everyone, especially the guests that have been to a Table of Fabulousness have a place to meet online to keep the conversation going!

So here is where it is happening!  < click me >

#1 Home Boardroom Lunch was fab, fun & fulfilling!

Yesterday was the first shared 'Table of Fabulousness' and was by everyone's account (8 of us) a fab & beneficial event. We had < 3 hours to devour bite size pieces of information on each others business, savour delicious food (recipes to follow) and sip on a signature, award winning 'Celestial' cocktail (tx Alexx of  Luxury Tastings).

Appetiser Miang 
a David Thompsen inspired hot, sweet, salty spoon salad
(little pieces of bbq prawn, kaffir lime leaves, lemon grass, peanuts, coriander, mint and thai basil leaves, roasted galangal, ginger, lime ruby grapefruit, pam sugar, fish sauce ...you get the idea!)
Main course of beef poach in Asian broth with greens and shiitake (Rowie Cakes inspired & Neil Perry recipe)
Dessert 8 hour pears with vanilla yoghurt & home made sponge fingers to soak up the vanilla infused red wine 
(fruit in season, healthy yoghurt & a 'biscuit' I have never cooked)

The mix of people and their biz types & stages married really well. We had businesses from Virtual Assistants & PR/Events thru to e-learning & online waste trading! Just by introducing ourselves & our biz each of us got at least 3 unplanned 'take -outs'. We did not make it right round the table in full as the time slipped passed quickly (we better sack the chairperson - moi!) Sorry Mel & Liana -  you are both at the next one/s so we shall make up for it there.

There was a quick discussion that it would be good to have an online table, a place where we could meet and keep chatting & sharing about sharing specific topics between lunches. I am thinking an online table would also attract new guests and perhaps even be a desirable destination for 'experts' to join us IRL and share their expertise.  Table of Fab #2 has been filled (8 guests) with 6 returning guests, this means there are not many places for new people - this is telling me that you would like to build 'real' relationships.

My initial thoughts on where to create an on line Table of Fabulousness are about time & effort to maintain and ease of use for guests. It probably works best being phased: eg
Start with a dedicated Facebook Page for the Table of Fabulousness as it is so easy to setup and add content, run the events, set up an online enquiry/database, view pics/data jpgs etc. The trouble with this is you don't get much depth in conversation as the discussion page app I have on my luk site is no longer available.
Move 2 a wordpress blog/site so we can above but also have discussion forums / subjects, profile each biz etc

At the next Fab Table I think we should keep it simple. Finish the introductions + welcome the 2 new guests (Suellen and Naomi), and either discuss a particular subject of interest (which we can work out before hand) or set ourselves a biz goal that we wish to be accountable for by the next meeting. These are just ideas - I will kick start this discussion on our dedicated facebook page soon.

We need to think about what to do if we keep getting enquiries to join. Perhaps people will volunteer to be a host and hand pick their own table! Just seeding the thought....lets let it go organic!

We have just a few pics of our day (Tx Melinda) - all before guest arrived as we were too busy sharing & connecting, learning and being inspired!

Here is a little taste of our fab few hours. I look forward to our next shared Table of Fabulousness - the  Home Boardroom Lunch for small biz owners!

Achieve Success. Implement a Comprehensive Business Strategy - In Her Shoes part 2.

A quick video interview hosted by Suzi Dafnis of Australian Businesswomen's Network (with me) on biz strategy that you may find interesting. < click here >

Thursday, August 11, 2011

thoughts + 24 hrs in Paris

Tony (hubby) is taking a spontaneous 'daddy' day tomorrow, I am already packing things up ready to 'disappear' into the world of luk (don't know where i will hide out yet but am sure to find a friends empty house somewhere close!) and I am guessing I won't come home til the kids are in pj's ready for me to read them a book!  I can't believe the thought of 12hrs of 'me time' brings so much joy....what luxury!

With luk's launch on track for year end I have lashed out on a cleaner as i can't stand NEVER getting the house clean and tidy from end to end: it is really doing my head in. I have been married for nearly 20 years and we always had one (both busy in own businesses and making the most of life) but after coming back from 18 months away we needed to get back on top of thing$ (not to mention having the guilt trip about being a stay-at-home-mum).  I am treating it as an investment in personal & business development and feel better already!

When i first started this blog I planned to write & share lots of things outside of business - ideas on 'sweet living', tips on things to do with kids, places to go, inspiring trips, recipe that are great for mid week meals, all those sorts of things, however I am afraid it has not happened so I will endeavour in the next few weeks to start to balance this 'blog' out for you & me!

With this in mind I have been looking through some photo's and would like to share this very special photo-album of the 24hrs I spent in Paris with my dear old 'Uncle' Joe. It is memories like these, where you pause and create something spontaneously very special (& have the opportunity) that brings a smile to your lips for the rest of your life. Giving is one of the great gifts in the world.

[as background...at 87 years young, my uncle flew from Adelaide to Paris and spent a month with us on our barge in the country side before we had a 3hr TGV trip to Paris, arriving mid afternoon. We had 24 hrs in Paris to fit in as much as we could before I popped him on the plane back to OZ. He had not been to Paris on 50 years and we both new this would be his last visit ...so we made the most of it! ]

24 hours in Paris

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Please confirm event attendance - tx

Hi ladies, for those attending the first Table of Fab. - home boardroom lunch (or later ones), can you please indicate your coming by clicking on the event link below. Due to my lack of experience on FB - I really want to see it this is a good way of organising the events & in turn it helps each of us.

You may have to 'like' me/luk by CIndy Luken before hand!

tx Cindy

link to facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=216781205036508


I should be so happy today as i have the next 5.5hrs ahead of me for working on luk (& ditto tomorrow) but i am seriously lacking my normal energy. It take so much to get the house and kids organised just  to have those few precious hours (whilst staying calm & teaching them to do things for themselves)...on top that hubby has been away the last 2 weekends and working til all hours in between. My biggest challenge comes with working from home as seriously I can't ESCAPE when the sitter comes back with Ciara after dropping off Karl as she WANTS me. (yes - they go do activities but still comes back here late morning)

Big deep breath...they have all just walked out the door (hubby 3 hrs earlier!), think i'll emerge and make a latte, put on some 'spa' music and start again with a happy smile on my face. This should be  good session, I plan to work on my sales presentation kit so i can get on the road in a few weeks and sell those first 10K units to trade to get the ball rolling. To fill in where I am at.... stability /compatibility testing on the new lippy packaging is going well so I have good reason to slowly start pulling things together! 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Design brief to RubyRuby Design for Table of Fabulousness!

Kids are in bed! Dinner is ready & I have 10 mins to squeeze in post before relaxing for the evening - i know I have been sucked in by MasterChef (it is my first series viewing tho!). I should be folding clothes but that has no draw-card!!

Earlier in year I made a couple of 'purchase donations' to a fantastically organised QLD Funding Flood Appeal by Hand Made Kids & Rudy & The DoDo where they raised close on $20K. I 'won' the silent auction bid kindly donated by Bec Marr of RubyRuby Design. (bid link)

I am now using that donation 'win' to create a logo so that the 'Table of Fabulousness - the home boardroom Lunch for small biz owners' can be brought to life.

Bec received her brief this afternoon and loved it. (link to brief) or see slideshare on RHS. This is what she had to say.

Table of Fabulousness - home boardroom lunch guest list #2 open

This idea is brewing faster than my organisational skills so i am creating this post for those of you who would like to attend #2 - 13th September (2nd tuesday of the month).

Please just add your name to the list via a comment in this post and please, i would really like you to answer those profile questions in my previous Home Boardroom Lunch post and send me it via email. <1 page, Q&A format.

In terms of cost...it is free for the first couple we do - you are my guest in my home!

Tx Cindy

Monday, August 1, 2011

e-marketing with Aweber - first embedded form & follow up process accomplished!

After a little 'stimulating brain activity' in front of TV on the weekend I set up my first subscription template with Aweber. I was able to embed it into my website & onto a luk beautifood Facebook page that is slowly taking shape.

Launch - The home boardroom lunch

After some very positive feedback to the idea of a 'home boardroom lunch' where home based startup & early stage biz owners can meet 'informally' in a private dining experience to connect with smart & savvy like-minded ....we are GOOD-TO-GO!  3 spots still open.

Date: 16th August
Time: 11.30 for 12.30 sit down, finish by 2.00pm (to cater for kid collection)
Place: address details will be emailed once profile form is returned to me.
Guests: Shortlisted so far from interest shown. Best in first dressed. There is room for 10.
1. Caroline Jewell (from Melbourne) Startup biz - food product CANCELLED (hubby away!!)
2. Kirralee Baker - early stage biz (www.myplayhouseadventures.com) confirmed profile rec.
3. Alexx Swainton Stuart: Confirmed early stage biz: (Luxury Tastings - http://luxurytastings.com) profile rec.
4. Melinda Hills - Early stage biz: online learning & training consultant confirmed
5. Diana Corlette - Startup - biz proposition confirmed
6. Liana (confirmed)  - early stage startup (http://www.facebook.com/LSQUAREDINK)
7. Sonja Firth- (confirmed) - early stage biz (Verve business support - www.vervehr.com.au ) profile rec
8. Lesley Lees: Biz startup. Commercial / Industrial Waste On-line Trading Confirmed profile rec
9. open
10. Me confirmed!

I would like all guests to send me a brief profile on yourself and your biz (<1 page) which i will use to facilitate the 'lunch meeting'. I understand if you don't want to share some points but i think it is a great little grounder & if not forwarded to me in total should be shared on the day [Thanks Diana for ideas :)] 

Your Name & contact details inc home address & your linked in address:
Biz: Who are you? What do you do? Who will you be? What stage are you at?
Opportunity: why is there a market for your product? What is the potential?
USP: What makes your product/biz unique?
Income: How will/does it generate sales?
Challenges: what are your key risks and how are/will they be managed?
People: What experience and skills do you bring to this project?

If you can't make this lunch and are interesting in future ones, please let me know via this blog and drop me a brief profile by email. I will look at running one per month, say the second Tuesday of each month. This first one will be FOC - you are my guests, I'll see how it goes from there. 

I really look forward to hearing from you, and please think of anyone else you that maybe interested in what we are doing & is interesting!

Bon Appetite!

PS - Alexx I will be in contact re cocktails 
PSS - does anyone need a sitter?
PSSS - Melinda, hey, I might take you up on the offer to help prep!!