Top 10 Business Ideas in PH for 2018


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Last ASEAN Summit held in Manila, it was projected that the Philippine economy will grow by 6.6% to be driven by strong private consumption. The common Filipino often says “Eh hindi ko naman ramdam yang pag-unlad na yan. Hirap pa rin ako” (I can’t feel that economic growth. I’m still poor). That’s because of the trickle down effect where the growth flows vertically from the upper classes to the lower classes within society. If the top businessmen and their businesses wouldn’t pass on the benefit of growth to their employees at the very least, then such growth will never really have an impact to most Filipinos. Simply put, only those that are directly engaged in economic activities in the country or those that are not just dependent on monthly paychecks from their employers are the ones that can directly feel the growth of the Philippine economy.

For those wanting to transition from being employees to becoming entrepreneurs in either full-time or part-time capacity, a new year is always a perfect timing to start a business. But what business to establish? The following are my 10 business ideas that you can venture into this coming 2018:

#1. Online business

With the announcement of partnership between Facebook and the Philippine government for a ultra high-speed internet, businesses will be online soon. So those who will begin to create online businesses and grow their brand in the next two years in time for the “Go Live” of the high-speed internet will have the first mover advantage. Online businesses such as those that address the simple basic needs of the Philippine market such as food and water distribution, those that solve traffic problems, education, retail, basic services and financial services are now ripe for disruption (and is now actually beginning to get disrupted!).

#2. Freelancing (business consultant, accountant, social media manager, blogger, graphic artist, designer etc.)

The fast-changing business landscape driven by new business models, internet of things, tax reforms and ever increasing regulatory requirements are the areas that busy micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) need help with. Those that have the skills in these areas should consider whether it’s time for them to be their own boss by freelancing or basically being a consultant or contractor to many businesses that need their expertise. The good thing about freelancing is that it is relatively cheaper to establish because it only need some few tools like a laptop and a mobile phone.

#3. Co-working spaces

On my previous article, The current state of Philippine startups, I wrote that most Philippine startup are only few years old and most of them are planning for expansion in the next three years. This expansion would mean more and more people will be needed and hence, the need for a larger office space. Freelancers will also be needing a workplace other than the usual coffee shops. Cool co-working spaces with good internet connection, office machines and in-house administrative personnel are good solutions to their needs.

#4. Convenience stores

Convenience stores are now becoming the favorite “go to” place of both locals and tourists especially those 24-hour ones. Whether it is placed in a highly urbanized area or a suburban one, these stores have become the “breather” or “haven” of night shift and even day-shift workforce. Therefore, it is now becoming more of a place to stay instead of the usual corner store where people spend only few minutes to buy their necessities and then leave swiftly afterwards. Thus, a good location, good air-conditioning system, good lighting, better security and good selection of treats and snacks are some of the features that those planning to establish convenience store(s) must address to be successful.

#5. Grab or Uber fleet

For those that are looking into transport businesses, signing-up their fleet of cars for Grab or Uber is a good choice. All you need is a car, a driver and a permit to conduct business from regulators like LTFRB. The hassle of heavy traffic, high prices of gasoline, security & safety, in Metro Manila and nearby provinces combined with the ever-increasing mobile phone penetration in the country would mean Transport Network Vehicle Services (TNVS) such as Grab or Uber getting more relevance than taxis.

#6. Condominium and apartment rentals

There’s a lot of commercial hubs and residential towers sprouting not just in Metro Manila but in almost all major cities in the country. The influx of business travelers and foreign tourists and increasing middle class in the country who have the capacity to rent a decent condominium or apartment puts the condo and apartment rental business in a good spot to invest into. For some, getting an investment property like a condominium or an apartment means heavy capital. But that’s not exactly the case anymore because there are lots of banks who now offer flexible financing options. In addition, the marketing front of the business is even made easier and simpler due to the presence of many good online platforms and apps like AirBnb that can help you find guests and clients that are willing to pay your rental fees for a period of time.

#7. DIY Laundry Shops

Real estate developments particularly in Metro Manila, Region 3 and Region 4 for residential and commercial spaces would mean more people will be needing basic services such as laundry services. Do-It-Yourself (DIY) laundry shops are good solutions to the ever-increasing busy population and rising middle class.

#8. Massage & Spa Shops

Again, with the increasing stress levels of busy working professionals, entrepreneurs and even some blue-collar workers, there would be a high-demand for wellness centers like massage & spa shops. Perfect location would be on nearby business centers and rising tourist areas.

#9. Construction-related businesses

More of the government’s Build, Build, Build projects are expected to commence on 2018. More roads, trains and expressways will be developed and expected to connect cities and provinces. People in these cities and provinces will benefit soon on the economic activities those infrastructure projects will bring and therefore we can expect a further increase in their disposable income and purchasing power. And what is every Filipino’s first major project when they start to generate higher income? Their dream house. For some, it’s their dream business. Anyhow, both would require construction.

#10. Food Kiosk and/or Coffee Shops

Food and beverage (F&B) businesses will never get obsolete because food is a basic human need. In fact, the emergence of foodpark and foodtruck concepts around metro manila and nearby towns are good proofs. The common challenge in these businesses is competition as the barrier to entry is very low and it’s quite easy to copy a concept. There are existing giant players too (hello Jollibee and Starbucks) that are hard to beat. The good thing is, as long as there’s delicious and quality food, and better customer experience, then those planning to set-up this kind of business will never lose their customers.