Doing Business With Aboriginal People

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Doing Business With Aboriginal People

  1. 1. Doing Business with First Nations is Our Territory © g y
  2. 2. Doing Business with Aboriginal Communities CCAB Aboriginal Business Forum Lee Ahenakew March 30th, 2010
  3. 3. Overview • Strategy • Cross Cultural Communication • Common Success Factors • Common Errors • Deal Making
  4. 4. Strategy • You need a business plan • Market Differences from Mainstream: – NGO’s delivering community services – Large Community Owned Businesses • Corporate Aboriginal Relations • Consider geography: sales channels and service • Leverage community political alliances
  5. 5. The Communications Iceberg: Traditional Aboriginal Communication Characteristics Low tone of voice Soft spoken Visible Vi ibl Avoid eye contact Avoid small talk Sense of humour Passive Employment vs. Profit Sharing wealth Not Consensus d i i C decision making ki Humility H ilit Visible Process vs. time Relationships/trust Respect for elders Oral tradition Protocol
  6. 6. Common Success Factors • Commitment from senior levels to do things differently • Develop a strategy and resource properly across the organization l h i i • Focus on long term relationships • Cross-cultural training for front-line staff • Cross cultural immersion • Culturally appropriate marketing
  7. 7. Common Errors • “All we have to do is hire an Aboriginal sales person l • Pow-wow marketing • Selling the big deal to the Minister or Grand Chief • Minority approach • Aggressive sales targets will lose senior level support
  8. 8. Deal Making g • Respect and Recognition • Find out what the decision making process is • Understand the “technicians” role • Hold Chief to Chief (Executive Officer) talks
  9. 9. Meeting Issues g • Traditional vs. Mainstream communication characteristics • Time – Slow it down • Phone correspondence – takes time Ph d k i • Group meetings – difficult to organize • Meeting Time - “Indian Time” – leave some extra time around your meeting • Call ahead to confirm the meeting – can be cancelled quickly due to funerals and emergency issues or political meetings • Flow of meetings – Visit a little first • Verbal Communication – Pause and leave silence to wait for a response • Be aware of election cycles!!!!
  10. 10. Promotion and Advertising • It’s all about the networking: Get to know your regional organizations • Regional Political events are the best place to be – find out what hotel everyone is staying in • Aboriginal people love their conferences! (i.e.. Get me off the rez) • Approx. 28 major newspapers: AMMSA.com • 149 radio stations • Television stations: APTN • Direct Di t marketing i th b t way t reach a t k ti is the best to h targeted audience t d di • Advertising to Aboriginal market requires a culturally appropriate message
  11. 11. Thank You

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