How to Start a Small Business in the Philippines

February 14, 2014 | Valerie Wong

Here are several caveats that foreigners should be aware of when attempting to set up shop in the Philippines, especially startup companies never before seen in the country and beyond it. Courts tend to favor locally run businesses over foreign ones when handling complaints. What's more, foreigners couldn't own land in the Philippines. If they want to set up shop, they will definitely need to liaison with several Filipino locals to make their business work out domestically; otherwise they'll lack leverage and whatnot. These rules are all indicated in the 1987 Philippine constitution, which several lawmakers are endeavoring to appeal in order to encourage more foreign investments.

Important Advice and Recommendations Regarding Philippine Startups

If you're a non-Filipino resident and entrepreneur who'd rather wait out a constitutional repeal regarding foreigner business rights in the Philippines and whatnot, don't hold your breath. If you wish to invest in the Philippines regardless, then follow these tips and tricks. First off, present yourself and your brand in a respectable light without resorting to flinging mud at the competition, and you'll be able to win over the locals' hearts. Filipinos are more emotional people when it comes to buying products and services, so marketing with ads that tug at their heartstrings instead of, say, the more American way of highlighting practical benefits in a commodity is the way to go.

Making a living in the Philippines can be quite tough in terms of business creation. However, there is a wealth of opportunity available to you there as long as you know how to play your cards right. Filipinos are all for imported items, so feel free to advertise the fact that you're distributing American-made or European-made goods at prices that the average local could afford. One of the best ways to overcome the hardships of setting up your own business is being aware of the available fields you can enter that's quite popular in the ASEAN country, like setting up one of many call centers that have become as much of a staple industry in the English-speaking nation as in places like India.

Potential Startup Businesses That Foreigners Could Enter

As far as popular retailing businesses go, the most popular in the Philippines include rice retail, pandesal (a kind of Philippine-made bread bun), food cart business, meat shop, tarpaulin printing, CAD plotting, Information Technology, flea market (ukay-ukay) business distributing imported goods, Filipino street food business, dry goods (tiangge) business, online selling business, cellphone credit loading business, shoe and bag repair business, laundry and dry cleaning, fruits and vegetable grocery, barber shop and beauty parlor business, hotel and restaurant business, personalized t-shirt printing, electronics distribution, online affiliate marketing, and photography.

The more exotic and eccentric business choices on the above list will naturally require a lot of research on the part of the foreigner attempting to adapt to the Philippine way of living and conducting businesses. You will never run out of options when it comes to possible business you can enter, although the more localized ones will require the help of locally based managers, resellers, and liaisons to ensure that everything is going as smoothly as possible. As far as foreigners are concerned, the paths of least resistance (and research) involve business like photography, Information Technology, and online shopping.

Do you want to start a Philippines-based business? Then let Servcorp help you with its virtual office and corporate registration solutions. It's one of the most dependable companies out there when going about Filipino startups.