Tuesday, September 20, 2011

taking shape - wonderous wordpress site

It's underway. I have the beginning of beautiful blog (& grey hair) in 4 hrs!

By launching the luk beautifood face book site i forced myself to start talking beautifood not biz, and to push myself even further I promised delish bites of beauty info in a ' daily juice'  newsletter. So I need to keep my promise and get some sort of platform up to do it. There is no way i am putting content into a FB site so a dedicated blog-style site is about to be created. Here's my approach:

1. 6 month ago. Looked at WordPress, set up free account, dabble, get totally frustrated, leave alone.
2.  Last night:
     a) read Karen's Build a little Biz newsletter. Go to ProBlogger review of how to boost your blog
         traffic by guest blogger by Issy Eyre of Fennel & Fern
     b) Check out her links. Get really really INSPIRED
     c) Fall in love with Fennel & Fern beautiful site. Dream of how can I do that for little or no spend
3.  Today: take a deep breath
    a) google 'magazine' style wordpress sites. Find Kriesi Corona (launched 10 days ago) site at  
        Themeforest in a few minutes thinking ....oooh maybe I will be really lucky.
    b) Play with site inc a few other versions. Really like what i see ....hmm which one.
    c) BUY  ($35) & download Corona as it is the newest template by this group. And i don't have time
        to waste.
    d) Start: watch video on WHAT TO DO!!! see fab but very fast no sound?  video tutorials
    e) Set up Web Hosting ($5 pm) with Crazy Domains as they have my registered domain names and
        it's in Oz.
    f) try and find the "one click button" they advertise to host my new WP theme.
    g) Get totally frustrated. have 2 lattes and a piece of toast.
    h) Make phone call to tech department of Crazy Domains. Woohoo. Test site set up in 2 mins
    i)  Go back to video instructions and follow........yippee, everything up and running to start
        formatting the site and loading data.  (in test version til I make another call to Crazy Domains)
4. Tonight:
     a) Start play with pages, menus, layouts, pictures, logo sizes, what i'll say....
     b) drink lots of Laphroaig whisky !
5. Tomorrow:
    keep working in my 6 hr kid free window.......fingers crossed i have something good-to-go!

taking shape!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Time to SHOUT OUT please!

Woohoo, my blog hit 5000 page views overnight.

Thank you for joining me on this 'cruisy' biz startup, I hope I have been able to share some tips and tricks on how to start a profitable biz whilst having 2 pre-schoolers and not experiencing the 'guilt-trip' that so many working mums have.

It's only a small step towards learning how this online world works and connects but boy does it feel good. (i wonder how long it takes to reach 5000 page views daily!) My aim in sharing 'my biz in the making'  is to inspire you to start your own and to share what you see - providing you really do like it. Not just my business jottings but my luk beautifood brand. Ultimately I want to sell a product that people desire and love. And if I can do it so can you. 

The last week has been encouraging:
-  my Table of Fabulousness lunch on Tuesday confirmed that this is the way of the future where woman support woman to help them in their success and enjoy themselves along the way.  
- mentoring several young woman in business, informally, over the phone has renewed their vigour by showing them in a few simple steps how to realise profitable sales
- linking up a friend with a tech investor to launch her 4 year dream (I met the investor only a few months ago tx to another introduction - amazing how quickly things can work in a like-minde space) 
-  working mostly on how to promote not process my product  

So, with the 5000 page milestone reached, I am feeling motivated to ask you a favour. Can you start to spread the word, more commonly known as SHOUT OUT on luk beautifood. I want to start building 'beautifood' subscribers because with out them I can't sell product! It's that simple. 

The luk beautifood facebook page is NOW up and ready to run. It will start by talking about the beauty of food, an A-Z of super active foods, Fast, Fresh & fabulous Recipes, what your skins loves and lots of other goodies. I'm applying my online biz learnings to start the ball rolling so you will find:

1.  Launch Incentive to sign up - every 10th 'LIKER' will receive a $20 beauty gift. (maximum 50) I am being brave and will share 'progress' samples of my new lippy!  ooh la la 
2.  Automated back end to run the promo. ie every 10th, 20th, 30th, liker etc must sign up to receive their gift and include their address details to qualify - makes co-ord, despatch etc easier not to mention having 50 new subscribers!
3. All 'likers' must be incentivised to subscribe - so I am starting my 'daily juice' beauty newsletter. I  will research and start writing whilst on school holidays - aka hubby around 24/7! Sign up happening immediately as I have just created the content / automated work flow with Aweber....! 
4. Content must be engaging, original and worth sharing!  I will source co-contributors (nutritionist/naturopath, scientists, make up artist) I am talking to some already so sing out if you are interested!
5. A blog dedicated to all things Food, Beauty and Science will be created...and yes David & Suellen I will do it on Wordpress! 

Let's see if this theory works and how long it takes to reach a target of 500 'likers' & 100 subscribers. Agh. I'm nervous already...!

NEXT STEPS: if you like what I do, can you....
Step 1.  GO TO - luk beautifood facebook page (click here) and click 'LIKE' once there.
Step 2.  STAY ON the luk facebook page or (click here) and subscribe NOW
Step 3. SHOUT OUT via facebook or your blog or tweet or email or all of them!
EG post this in your status entry with a luk beautifood FB tag.

"Free luk lippy (full size) to every 10th 'LIKER & SUBSCRIBER' of luk beautifood. (max 50)" You can also get creative and say something nice about me!! I will thankyou with a little surprise pressie too if you send 10 people so make sure your friends say "xx" sent me.

Would so love you to share to help me 'build a successful little biz'. Thanks for your support, have a fab weekend.
Tx Julia of www.rudyandthedodo.com.au for the inspiration and creative!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

l u n c h wrap-up - table of fabulousness

I hosted our second Table of Fabulousness today and what a magic day it was. 10 small business owners from all walks of life spent 3 hrs together discussing their businesses over lunch. It was intimate, open and  incredibly inspiring to hear each other talk about what they do and where they are at. Each of us made comment to help each person build a better biz. The conversation ebb and flowed.

Lunch had a decidedly summer Mediterranean flavour...

Moroccan Cocktail with rose water and petals, mint leaves, lime, coconut juice, vodka....
entree of proscuito, buffalo mozzarella, watercress, melon and a raspberry vinaigrette
chicken targine, cous cous salad, chargrilled asparagus and beans
little pots of baked creme, mango, blueberries, biscotti

The Table of Fab idea is morphing into something really lovely after only 2 lunches, today Lesley & Diana generously offered to host the 4th lunch (Nov 2011) at their place in the eastern suburbs. What worked well about today was having the same people return to get update on their biz progress and then to have new faces present their business. I imagine i will have a group of about 15-20 ladies on this table who would like to meet regularly and build special relationships to support one another.

What i do with all the enquiries I have had I am yet to work out....saying that there will be a Newcastle Table next month with a new bunch of fab women. To see more, go to www.facebook.com/TableofFabulousness

Monday, September 12, 2011

STOCK is MONEY - manage it right, manage it tight.

I've been inspired to write this post as I have noticed there are so many little businesses out there owned by mums that love to sell (&/or make) and never really give much thought to stock and its cost and the importance of having readily available information at their finger tips regarding cost, margins, sales, age etc to create a picture on where they are in their biz thus enabling important decisions to be made quickly & easily. (sorry  - a big sentence!)

It is really important to have a helicopter view of your biz when you sell stock so you understand the relationship between

  • buying & selling: lag in between 
  • cost price v's sell price
  • sell price & discounts / promotion strategy
  • margin v's mark up: margin speaks P&L as a margin is a % of sales / ie top line and therefore quickly relates to bankable dollars on your P&L) 
  • margin $ v's margin %: a big margin % on a low price item sold in small qty will never bank as much money as an average margin on a high sales volume item. ie no point gloating about a big margin or markup on an item when it doesn't sell much.
  • stock age: turn pa, shelf life, seasonal 
  • slow and fast movers: freeing up money to buy what sells, ensuring SOH on what sells, tailoring your product range to suit your customer.
  • sales reports:  in a)units, b)$ and c) margin $ d) not to mention x customer, x territory, x channel - however you slice & dice it to make the right decisions. 
  • customer sales reports: managing key account &/or channel profitability so you understand the true cost of sale as it takes into consideration your management time, promotional costs, shipment costs etc. 
  • Gross Profit / Contribution ie True cost sale which is sale price less cost of goods less cost of sale (your time!) less cost of promotion (discounts & give aways) less cost of shipment/storage/ullage etc)
AND how it all relates back to your P&L & Balance sheet because if you are not tracking stock regularly (like daily orders - worst case weekly) by cost and sell price then you can't run an accurate P&L and therefore have no idea how much you make out of sale or if you have a enough money to cover your overheads (fixed costs) or buy more stock. Coupled with that you can't run a balance sheet to see where you are. A balance sheet simply holds your assets -  SOH (Stock on Hand ie the investment of holding all that unsold stock & stock on order)  + your accounts receivable (if you are not pre-payment) and takes off your liabilities (what you owe for stock, wages, ATO, loan etc) to come up with your financial position.

In this day and age there is no excuse for a micro / small biz not to run an online accounting system that manages inventory (ie purchase orders, receive stock, stock list, less items sold, cost of sale) and is linked in with your online shop. Sure, there are fully integrated systems but we are talking something low cost and sometimes even free that is manually assisted so sales and stock are tracked back into the accounting package for easily run reports that tell you what your biz health (wealth) status is instantly - daily, weekly, monthly & quarterly.

It sounds like a lot of paper work but truly, once you get some help to set up your P&L & Balance sheet properly and set up some systems, everything else just falls into place and you have a beautiful (or not so beautiful) picture of where you are sitting.

If you are interested I can share much more detail on this, or pop online some report formats, show you the layout of a P&L that gives you answers, looks like etc. We could also explore some of the accounting packaging and/or online shops that are suited to Australia.

Let us know your thoughts. :)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

[ delicious living ] out & about

When i first set up this blog i created a few different topics to share information, to date i have not posted anything, to be honest i haven't because I don't want to turn into a computer junkie nor do i want my children to see me on the computer much. There is a world at our door step that is exciting to explore and experience and sometimes takes just a little more effort to do....

My first entry in delicious living is an exhibition i stumbled upon last week when i took Karl (my 4 year old) to one of his favourite places that he is always begging me to go to -  The Power House Museum in Sydney. Little Ciara (3) goes to a Montessori Pre-school 5 days a week from 12.30 -3.30 so Karl & I have 2h&45min on thursday & friday afternoons to do as we like...

Til April next year there is an Exhibition at the PHm called LOVE LACE - don't let the title distract you - it is really a stunningly beautiful sculpture exhibition worthy of a place in the State or National Gallery.

Here is the link to the site and a few screen grabs for you to get the feel and when you desire a creative space and somewhere for the kids to run on soft quiet carpet when it's wet out side (one if the reasons why I love to go there) ...go visit! Enjoy.

[BTW - the PHm is under serious renovation at the moment so a lot of stuff is closed - entry is around $10 pp 4+yrs  and don't forget to get your ticket stamped for $eriously reduced parking at the nearby station. Also, there is a cafe downstairs outside with kids playground...nothing fabulous but everything you need to make things easy and comfy and relaxed]

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

FB stats update #3

And whilst I am at it....here is the latest stats view on my FB page. As you know I am sharing this because i am fascinated in the stats of LIKERS (154 who have come unprompted!) versus the MONTHLY ACTIVE  USES (905) who I assume visit anonymously.

blogger gets a make over!

Somewhere in the last 2 weeks Blogger changed its look (very nice) and user interface (WHERE IS EVERYTHING?). It's feeling and looking a lot like WORDPRESS. I am sure the new one is better...I will try and get use to it B4 I revert back to the old one for habitual reasons!

good-to-go: product sign off

ooh-la-la. Getting closer to setting my brand's launch date after doing some pretty serious sign offs on product today. Big tick items were:

1. Sign off on lippy product costings - production/fill cost
2. Sign off on lippy formulation - base, flavours and shades
3. +ve test results from lab - 3 months with revised packaging
4. Re-designed artwork submitted for test print & production mockup of packaging

I am trying to get the message and words right to describe my product and have had the camera out for weeks bringing ideas to life. My pin board is covered in brochure mockup designs. These are some of the shots from my creative moments..... the kids are (NOT) in the background!

Tho it is good news with all those key sign offs I must dust off my corporate sales hat to bag some chunky sales offline (nooooo not retail - too many hurdles and deadlines for not much margin - aka bankable $$) to get the oils wheeled. By that I mean I want to pre-sell 10K (10,000 units would be REALLY nice tx) to take a big bite out of startup packaging stock requirements. Pre-selling before I buy packaging (my design custom made in Asia) and go to production (out sourced here in beautiful Australia using gorgeous ingredients) means I am not tying up my funds but using someone else's to cashflow my biz.

I am envisaging sales online (my biz model) will take time to build (no I don't have a 20+K subscriber list but would love one if anyone has a creative collaborative idea!!) and the quantity and rate of sales is a relatively 'unknown' so by doing this I reduce risk and as a consequence launch STRESS.....thus keeping me and therefore family happy!