There are now only 7 days to go until the Supply Nation Connect 2017 Tradeshow event in Sydney, arguably the biggest event for Indigenous businesses each year.

This event is a valuable opportunity for Indigenous Suppliers to promote their products and services to organisations, Government agencies, corporates and businesses who have various Indigenous targets or Supplier Diversity policies to meet.

To attend this event is a big investment for Indigenous businesses to outlay, especially those of us who need to travel from the West Coast.

It’s very unfortunate that the majority of WA based businesses can’t afford to attend. I’m sure it’s the same for many others based in SA, NT and Qld. As a result, they are unfairly omitted from the opportunity to potentially win contracts or build key relationships. Therefore, those of us who do make the investment and take time out of our business to attend are doing so with the expectation we are going to gain something in return.

I’ve been to a few of these events now, all of which I can honestly say have resulted in little business with the buyers/procurement people who attend. I can confidently say this is the case for many of the attending Suppliers. As with all of the other Suppliers, we come fully prepared with marketing materials, videos playing, pull up banners, big logos splashed everywhere (all of which are a nightmare to carry on planes not to mention very expensive to produce and then to lug across the Continent). It’s common to see Suppliers giving away expensive gift bags, brochures and the like to the attending buyers. I wonder how many of those items are read or made use of? Anyway, the point is we come fully prepared to do business. In my experience, it is the Buyers who are usually not prepared.

I want to change that this year, not just for my business but for all the Indigenous businesses who are putting in a huge effort to attend.

So given all of the above from a Suppliers perspective, here are some tips for the buyers/procurement people. These tips will give acknowledgement to the investment of money, time and resources that the Suppliers have given, with the expectation of gaining business in return. They will also ensure the buyer will get the most out of the day for their organisation:

1. It’s always amazing how many buyers don’t have business cards on them at these events. Please bring your cards with you and only give them out if you really want that Supplier to follow up with you. Better still, come with your own register to note who you met with, did you give them a card, why, what was discussed, will there be a follow up and what will the follow up be about.

2. Know what your company or organisation needs in terms of Indigenous targets or outcomes before the event. This way, you will know what Suppliers can give you what you need. Again, it’s amazing how many buyers come along to ‘window shop’ not knowing what they want or why they’ve been sent along.

3. Your organisation has important Indigenous obligations or targets to meet. This is a once in a year event to engage with the very Suppliers who will help you help your company. Therefore, treat it as a goldmine of opportunities; do your research of the Suppliers on the SN directory or even Google them if you have to and beeline to those Suppliers as soon as you get there.

4. Be mindful, the Suppliers are the main focus of these events. We’ve made the investment to give YOU the direct access to US so YOU can meet YOUR obligations. On the other hand, your organisation has made a considerable investment to put YOU in direct contact with US. Therefore, give everyone involved their ROI by coming along to give business, create business and DO business.

5. To make it easy for you, if you need:

  • Indigenous contract labour, permanent placements or Accredited training on a National level, come and see me.
  • If you want to advertise your roles on Australia’s number one Indigenous jobsite to the largest database of Indigenous people ready to fill your roles across the Country, come and see me.
  • If you want an Indigenous owned healthy bottled water line, which is creating jobs for Indigenous youth in your supply chain, come and see me.

6. Let’s all work together to make magic happen for the Indigenous community who are relying on us Indigenous Suppliers to bring about positive change for them. Use this Connect event to your best possible advantage. Indigenous businesses are ready to do business now.

If you are a buyer or Procurement Manager who wants to meet your Indigenous employment targets, then book a time to come and meet with me at Connect. You can email me directly at joanne@ochrepeople.com.au.

Looking forward to seeing everyone there.