Hoʻomākaukau! Preparing for Better Times


Photo: Napua Harbottle

By Napua Harbottle

Born Bernice Pauahi Pākï on Dec. 19, 1831, to high chiefs Abner Pākï and Laura Kōnia, Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop grew to be a woman of intelligence, compassion and foresight who understood her kuleana to serve her people.

As the last direct descendant of Kamehameha I, Pauahi inherited thousands of acres of land, much of it from her cousin, Princess Ruth Keʻelikōlani. Her inheritance made Pauahi the largest landholder in the kingdom. With no children of their own, Pauahi and her husband, Charles, shared a deep commitment to the education and well-being of Hawaiian children. Pauahi viewed education as key to a thriving lāhui, and the most important provision of her will provided for the establishment of the Kamehameha Schools. With Mr. Bishop as a trustee, the Kamehameha School for Boys opened in 1887, followed by the School for Girls in 1894.

In the spirit of our beloved Princess’ desire to educate, the Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce strives to provide opportunities for learning, growing and succeeding in business. Although today’s economic climate could be forecasted as “cloudy with potential thunder storms,” here are some ways to ramp up your business planning skills in preparation for the time (hopefully soon) when we can rebuild and recover.

Online education is now the new norm for learning just about anything. Sign up for an online business course, workshop or webinar where you can learn how to:

  • Incorporate more technology into your day-to-day operations
  • Restructure your staffing plan to improve customer satisfaction, from the top down
  • Develop an improvement plan that proposes next steps through a redesigned business plan

“DIY” learning is all the rage and there are many self-help videos available; just Google a topic of interest and see what pops up. Try Googling some of these topics to boost your business without increasing cost:

  • How to develop a cross-training program for employees
  • Best methods for gathering feedback from your target consumer base
  • Implementing a virtual marketplace through e-commerce
  • How to promote your business through education-based marketing

Good old fashioned networking is easier than ever with virtual platforms such as Zoom. Not only does networking help you to keep up with what’s happening in your circles, but it also offers the opportunity to learn about best practices, challenges and innovations that could be applicable to what you do. Networking is a great way to build capacity through:

  • Increased partnerships
  • Increased customer base
  • Increased exposure

For businesses less impacted by the pandemic, consider creating a give-back program. Whether you offer discounted rates or lead a giveaway campaign, it’s good business to give back to your community every chance you get. It’s also the Hawaiian way.

Try some of these suggestions for boosting business and don’t forget to check out the Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce for more resources on how to navigate your business through these unprecedented times.

Napua Harbottle currently serves as the governance committee chair for the Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce. As a technical assistance specialist at Kaʻānaniʻau, Napua works with hundreds of nonprofit organizations throughout the Pacific to help design project plans that can be supported by federal funding, and also assists with grant application development for submission to the Administration for Native Americans. Napua has a degree in communications and botany from the University of Hawaiʻi and is a graduate of Kamehameha Schools.