Woman-Owned Business Start-up: THE BUDGET

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Woman-owned Business Start-up: THE BUSINESS PLAN

If you are new to the business world the very idea of a business plan can be intimidating.  Isn’t that what the folks with the MBAs who wear suits do?  Well, maybe in today’s world they wear hoodies but for a lot of peopleAll Posts

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Woman Owned Business Start-Up: Tool Kit


Over coffee I talked with my neighbor for the last few years (yes, years) about her concept for Lucky Planet Foods.  I was happy to help share some of my business experience.

She is  creative, a fabulous foodie and committed to doing the right thing for animals, people and the planet.  What I bring is basic business experience.  If you are planning a business start-up, here is what I tackled as we began to work together:


2. WORKING BUDGET (part of the business plan)




I will review each of these in detail in the coming posts.

*We’ve already changed our logo, see the picture above and let me know what you think!

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Woman-Owned Start-Up Business: Just Do It!


Have you ever thought about creating a product or a business but decided not to pursue it — only to find that later someone else has made a huge success out of your idea?  Each year I shell out hundreds to American Girl Doll (my sister and I had that idea!) and I marvel at the ease of keyless entry (what mother among my generation didn’t dream of keyless cars when holding a toddler and a bag of groceries?)  Most of us don’t own a factory that manufactures cars — barriers to entry are huge in many industries.

But if your idea is a good one, sometimes you have to more forward and just do it.  Whenever I take the leap, I find support starts flooding in from the Universe.  Sunday’s New York Time’s magazine’s cover (pictured above) and the feature story about plant-based meals is an example.  Lucky Planet Food can answer the question posed in the headline,  ”BIG VEG: Yes, healthful fast food is possible but edible?” with a resounding, YES!

The NYT’s author, Mark Bittman, says he a few years ago he had an idea for a plant-based fast food restaurant that seemed quixotic, “I lost my stomach on the project before I ever really began, but recent trends suggest that there may have been hope had a stuck to my guns.”  Turns out he’s doing just fine as an extraordinary foodie and critic but I bet his restaurant would have been a smash hit.

If you are thinking about pushing a big idea forward, as we are with Lucky Planet Food, perhaps the best reason to do so is that your idea has power.  Once you formulate pictures about where you are heading, you too will begin to see road signs, billboards, even the cover the NYT’s magazine, cheering you on!




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Woman-owned Business Start-Up: Five Reasons NOT to Do It!


If you are thinking about a business start-up…quick, reconsider.  Remember:

1. A start-up can cost you TONS of your money and leave you in the poor house.

2. The world is really competitive: do you seriously think you have what it takes? Forget about it!

3. There are people already out there in your field and your competion is probably a lot farther along than you are — you will never catch up.

4. Everyone is watching and if you fail your friends and family will think less of you — you’ll never work in this town again.

5. You may not be where you want to be now but it could get worse: stay put, avoid risks.

Well, I tell myself these things often…we are a food start-up, breaking into a market dominated by agri-business and people who know so much more than we do.  It seems impossible.  But, there is one reason I am moving ahead.  I can’t wait to make this company work.  I believe in my partner and the product.  So, these are good reasons to stop but I have better reasons to JUMP IN WITH BOTH FEET!  (More about that on the next blog.)

Photo: Getting started with packaging ideas for the desserts which will be named after at risk-specieis: Black Rhinos (double dark chocolate) and Siberian Tigers (pumpkin, oatmeal, coconut, molasses, walnuts.)

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Woman-owned Business Start up: Its So Crazy It Just Might Work!


Hello my dear blog readers.  I am sorry for my disappearance.  My last post, which featured a photo of banged up cardboard box that arrived after our trip to Viet Nam, came to you a month ago today.  Since then I’ve felt a bit like that box as I’ve sorted out life after vacation, some family events (fun and challenging), and work I pushed ahead until “after the trip.”  Now it’s time to get back to Unsinkable.  The next series of posts will cover in real time what it’s like for two women to create a start-up.

The next phase of Lucky Planet Foods, the business my partner, Lise Van Susteren, and I are launching is about to bloom. While it’s true I’ve grown a successful business, I also have had my share of flops. So, why do it again?  Three reasons:

First: Lucky Planet Foods is just a great idea.  See if you agree — our mission is below:

Lucky Planet creates delicious plant-based food inspired by diverse culinary traditions from around the world. Lucky Planet meals are solely plant-based made with great flavors and spices. We strive to use locally grown ingredients and are committed to protecting our planet with a low carbon footprint.

Second: I like to create value and make a difference and Lucky Planet will be good for people, animals and the planet (our tag line, by the way.)

Third: its’ so crazy it just might work.

Photo: Lucky Planet Home on the Range Chili (tomatoes, red and green peppers, onions, kidney and pinto beans, garlic and spices) and Iowa Caucus Chowder (green beans, chickpeas, soy milk, onions, nutritional yeast, seasoning.)

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Travel: Never Enough Room in My Suitcase


When I’m in a country I adapt to the culture quickly.  I noticed on baggage carousels that a lot of people in Asia travel with taped up boxes.  By the end of my trip I was doing the same.  My conical hat and souvenirs came through fine although this box was a little worse for ware after the 29 hour trip.  There are many life lessons here but I will leave them to my readers to sort out…maybe something about less baggage in life?

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Khmer Rouge: Bearing Witness


I had to wait until I returned home to write about the war attrocities in Viet Nam and Cambodia.  The contrast of the beauty of these countries and people and impact of decades of war made the trip sobering.  I remember reading about the Khmer Rouge during college but the truth of the genocide of 3 million people got lost in the endless horror of war reporting for me.

This is one of many rooms in the Genocide Museum, the actual prison in Phnom Phen, where only 7 of the 20,000 incarcerated survived.  Most were tortured and then murdered in the killing fields.  Each room has photo after photo of prisoners, one woman holding a baby, and depictions of torture (which I do not plan to post.)  The historical novel, In the Shadow of the Banyan by Vaddey Ratner, gives a sense of the human cost of Pol Pot’s forced evacuation and murder of hundreds of thousands of his own people.

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Palace Fish


If I could wish, I’d be a fish, for just a day or two.

To flip and flash, and dart and splash, with nothing else to do.

And never anyone to say, are your quite sure you washed today?

I’d like it, wouldn’t you?

These are the fish at the are bunched together waiting for tourists to throw food pellets.  Also, I loved this poem as a child and can’t seem to find the author.  I checked poetrysearch.com and under Robert Lewis Stevenson’s poems  (I thought he was the author.)  Any ideas?





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Travel and Laundry


Traveling in a hot climate with limited clothing means that often you just want to throw whatever you’ve been wearing for the last few days right into the trash.  (I know someone who brings only old underwear on trips and does exactly that.)  Unlike in the USA, however, hotel laundry services are reasonably priced.  I don’t want to get into the cost of labor and why I should feel guilty….I simply wonder if in heaven we get our “unmentionables” delivered in baskets and wrapped in linen.

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