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The best business ideas in the Philippines

Find out about some of the best startup ideas for the Philippines, as well as how to get started with your own business.

Philippines business ideas

With a young, English-proficient workforce and low taxes, the Philippines is an exciting country in which to launch a new business. This article covers the best business ideas in the Philippines and the steps you need to take to launch a successful business in the Philippines.

The business landscape in the Philippines

After Indonesia, the Philippines is Southeast Asia’s second most populated country, with one of the world’s fastest economic development rates. The Philippines’ economy is fast advancing in global services and trade, thanks to a high level of English proficiency.

After decades of political strife and isolation, the Philippines has made a comprehensive political and economic revolution. The Philippines has become one of the world’s most active rising markets, thanks to the leadership of its top corporations.

Taxes in the Philippines are lower than in most of the rest of the world, though not as low as in other Southeast Asian countries, which helps to support the economy.

Filipinos’ English proficiency has propelled the country to the forefront of the world Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) sector, surpassing India. BPO is critical to the Philippines’ economic growth since it brings in enormous amounts of money and investment from overseas.

Furthermore, the Philippines is engaged in sustainability efforts to mitigate the country’s sensitivity to environmental challenges. The Philippines has become a global leader in geothermal energy, thanks to its natural supply.

While still a relatively small sector, tourism is developing thanks to innovative marketing strategies that allow an increasing number of visitors to visit Manila, Boracay, and the Philippines’ UNESCO world heritage sites.

The main industries in the Philippines

The main industries of the Philippines are:

  • Business process outsourcing
  • Rice farming
  • Fishing
  • Electronics assembly
  • Textile production
  • Garment production
  • Petroleum refining
  • Aerospace engineering
  • Food manufacturing
  • Chemicals
  • Metals
  • Shipbuilding

What makes a successful business in the Philippines?

Several factors go into launching a successful business in the Philippines. These are:

Identifying opportunities

When evaluating the market opportunity, it’s worth noting that the domestic market offers opportunities in both B2C and B2B business: the retail, real estate, and construction sectors are booming, and the growing middle class is driving an economy that relies on private consumption for two-thirds of its revenue.

The Philippines is also the world’s top destination for voice-based customer service centre operations, and the world’s second-best destination for non-voice services, including IT, software development, and finance and accounting. 

Manufacturing in the Philippines is primarily concentrated on light industries such as electronics, but the country is also one of the top five shipbuilding nations in the world. Early steps in developing a successful business in the Philippines include identifying the relevant opportunities.

Being patient

When selling locally, another essential to success is market commitment: a one to three-year business development cycle is typical for building a long-term market presence. Business-related factors aside, there is a lot of red tape with annual permit and licence renewals, as well as a lack of efficiency and service-mindedness in the public sector.

Investing in people

The Filipino people may be said to be the country’s greatest asset. There is an abundance of English-speaking, high-skilled workers in the Philippines, with a workforce of 45 million people and an addition of roughly 1 million college graduates each year.

The 10 best business ideas in the Philippines

Online or in-person tutoring business

One-on-one tutorials provide a more targeted and focused approach to academic coaching for students who are struggling in class or just want to succeed. Online tutors who can monitor and support their child’s academic achievement are in high demand among working parents. 

English tutoring is particularly popular among Korean students who come to the Philippines to learn the language.

Sari-sari store

In the Philippines, the sari-sari store is arguably the most popular small business idea in the Philippines. This type of business is easy to start; you simply set up a store in front of your home. You can sell almost any type of goods: laundry detergent, soft drinks, and shampoo are popular sari-sari products. You could even start a loading company within the store to supplement your revenue.

Street food stall

A stall selling fish balls, barbecued meats or halo-halo crushed ice desserts is a popular food business idea in the Philippines. All you need is a dependable seller, a good source of clean street food products, and a stall. Keep in mind that you’ll need to obtain licences and permits. You can also use a cart, vehicle, or gazebo.

Online selling

If you’re looking to launch a successful online business in the Philippines, one of the easiest ways to get started is by selling products online. Nowadays, selling things on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter is simple. 

Keep in mind that you’ll need to produce a distinctive product to sell and provide your customers with simple payment options. If possible, provide online payment options.

Tailoring or sewing services

If you know how to use a sewing machine, you can establish a home-based alteration business and eventually give tailoring services. In a single day, some alteration shops can earn up to PHP 5,000.

Adventure travel business

If you enjoy diving, paddleboarding, ziplining or any other outdoor sport, you may turn your hobby into a lucrative business by launching an adventure tourism company. With the Philippines’ many air, land, and water adventure destinations, you can offer a variety of travel packages to young (and young at heart) adventurers.

Print shop

Birthdays, corporate parties, marriages, and funerals – not to mention campaigning politicians – can all benefit from invitations and flyers printed by a printing company. While opening a printing shop in a strategic location is a smart idea, many entrepreneurs find that their online printing businesses attract more consumers from across the country and even abroad.

You could even think about exploring the fascinating and in-demand world of 3D printing to stand out from the competition. 

e-Jeepney franchise

In the Philippines, the government’s public utility vehicle (PUV) modernisation initiative is a contentious topic, with transportation organisations opposing it due to the high cost of e-jeepneys. 

However, for enterprising Filipinos, this could be a lucrative business opportunity, as environmentally friendly PUVs are projected to replace the old traditional jeepneys, which will be phased out soon.

Vlogging

YouTube is the Philippines’ third most popular website, making it a good place to generate money online. Vloggers are compensated for each ad click or view on their YouTube videos. They can also make money by attending events and vlogging about them. 

Some people are compensated for mentioning or reviewing a product on YouTube. Earnings might reach six figures in a month if you consistently publish great online content. It’s best for people who are at ease in front of the camera and can engage their audience with their content.

Digital Marketing Consultant

There’s a chance to acquire high-value clients in this field, like hotels and dental clinics who require digital marketing and social media marketing services to achieve their business objectives. It’s perfect for experienced digital marketing and social media marketing experts who are currently employed by an agency but are looking to strike out on their own.

How to start a business in the Philippines

Starting a business in the Philippines is no easy task – but it can be made simpler by following a sequence of steps.

Learn before you begin

Successful entrepreneurship is built on a foundation of lifelong learning; you can learn the most from your own errors and from those of others who have gone before you. Another option to improve your understanding is to enrol in free or paid starter training courses. The Philippine Trade Training Center (PTTC) and the University of the Philippines Institute for Small-Scale Industries both offer programmes that teach you the fundamentals of running a business.

FutureLearn also provides courses to help you get up and running; check out How to Start a New Venture, Business Skills for Startups and our comprehensive series on starting a business.

Establish what you’re interested in

Running a business can be time-consuming in the long run, so choose a business that aligns with your passions. Don’t be discouraged if the idea already exists. After all, your goal isn’t to be unique; it’s to take an existing idea that interests you, transform it, and make it better than what’s currently out there

Rather than attempting to be unique, find ways to dominate an established market by providing a better, cheaper, or faster product or service.

Carry out market research

This is where market research enters the equation. You need to obtain data on your target audience to learn what makes them tick. These are two of the most popular methods for conducting low-cost market research:

Survey

A survey is an old-fashioned method of gathering data from a sample group that is considered to be representative of the entire population. This strategy can be used to find out what people think about current products or services on the market, and how you can improve them in terms of quality and price. 

The survey questions should elicit information on the features that customers evaluate when purchasing a product or service, as well as what they like and dislike about current items on the market, what improvements they would like to see, and the price that is appropriate for them.

Observation

This is perhaps the most basic method of market research, yet it is effective nonetheless.

It can take the form of contextual observation, in which the entrepreneur observes a sample of the target market while they are using or experiencing a product or service. Others take matters into their own hands and conduct a mock journey in which they put themselves in the customers’ shoes by purchasing and using the product or service.

Make a business plan

A business plan is a document that outlines how your company will develop from beginning to end. It takes a closer look at your company model and helps you spot any flaws in its profitability, giving you a better idea of whether the venture is worth pursuing.

Raise capital

You’ll need money to get your business off the ground, regardless of its size. If you’re merely selling homemade meals or sweets, you won’t need much money to get started, and you can start with whatever money you have in your savings account. There’s no need to take out a loan because you can keep all or part of your profit and reinvest it in your young, home-based business.

The same cannot be said for startups or large businesses such as restaurants, which often require a significant amount of cash upfront. You may need to go through numerous rounds of investing in order to get the idea off the ground, in addition to your own savings.

Here’s a rundown of numerous funding possibilities in the Philippines that you can look into to help support your fledgling business:

Your own money

One option to finance your business is to use your own savings or earnings from the sale of your personal assets. You’ll have more influence over your fate because the money will come from your own wallet, and you’ll keep 100% of your equity. 

Of course, you also risk potentially losing any capital you invest should the venture fail. It can be a tricky balance to strike. 

Family and friends

If your own money is insufficient to raise the required funds, you can turn to well-off friends and family who have sufficient cash reserves. When compared to bank loans, borrowing from them has the advantage of lower interest rates and more flexible payment arrangements. 

However, if you’ve exhausted your own resources and borrowed money from friends or relatives and still can’t raise the funds, it’s time to look for help from outside sources.

Government funding programs

Small businesses are the backbone of the Philippine economy. As such, the government has established loan and credit programmes to help our entrepreneurs. Various government entities, such as the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), the Department of Agriculture (DoA), and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), provide financial aid.

Obtain the necessary permits

The government requires you to register your business – whether it is a sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporation. As a result, your firm will be valid in the eyes of the law, and you will be able to file tax returns, ask for government loans, and avoid penalties.

Final thoughts

Though there is some bureaucracy involved, the Philippines is, generally, an economy that rewards entrepreneurial spirit. Get started with our courses on entrepreneurship and business innovation and obtain the knowledge you need to establish a booming business in the Philippines.

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