Thursday, June 18, 2009

Small business ideas for OFW

There are variety of tips on finding the ideal business to suit your goals.
The primary thoughts that you should have are:
- you to know how to design a concise business plan
- establish an organizational structure
- secure all the necessary financial backing
- finding top-notch employees and suppliers
- getting the most out of your advertising budget
- and taking advantage of Internet opportunities

We understand that while searching for your own business you may not have the time to read through pages of information just to determine which concept in which you’re most interested.
With your busy lifestyle and as an OFW you don't seem to have time to think of how to start and own a business. But Being a Filipino it our desire to come up with some thoughts how to start a small business entrepreneurship.
Listed below are some of the most relevant information concepts and approach on how to start with a small business.

Entrepreneurship in the Philippines
To be a Filipino entrepreneur, you have to know some perspective on entrepreneurship in the Philippines.
For many Filipino entrepreneurs, entrepreneurship is a necessity.

But if you don't know or don't have much ideas you will feel it is hard and tough to start small business. Actually all OFW now have the better chances of starting a small business compard to other Filipinos who are working only in the Philippines. You may have the following questions when you are thinking of making a small business in the Philippines.

How tough is it to become an entrepreneur in the Philippines?
I won't mince words—it's tough to do business in my country.
It's not as if there is a lack of entrepreneurs, or negosyantes as we call them in the Philippines. A stroll down a side street in Metro Manila will reveal dozens of businesses lining the road: tiny food kiosks, small groceries, vendors, internet cafes, you name it.
From one standpoint, the Philippines is highly entrepreneurial, but there's the rub—all of these businesses are small to medium scale enterprises; in fact, they account for 99% of all business establishments and 60% of all exporting firms in the country. And only a few of them can claim to be a success.

What are the challenges and opportunities entrepreneurs face in the Phillippines?
There are countless reasons for this sort of hardship, but here's the gist of them.
The World Economic Forum recently released the Global Competitiveness Report for 2007-2008, ranking the Philippines as Number 71 out of 131. Far from the bottom, but really bad news considering that neighbors Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam ranked 21, 28 and 68 respectively.
Even more interesting is what the report states as the country's biggest problematic factor—perceived corruption in the government. To put it bluntly, government money is winding up in official's pockets.
Granted, there are other factors, but this last one feeds the others. The systematic plunder of resources means fewer infrastructures, less budget for education, less access to technology and finally, less access to financing. Add that all up, and the prospect of starting up a business in the Philippines is very bleak, indeed. And yet, you'll still find negosyantes here, everywhere you go.
The reason behind this drive for entrepreneurship is need itself.
With a lack of jobs for unskilled people, coupled with the pressure to providing for one's family, many Filipinos look for income abroad like OFW's in any way they can.
Thus, you see the proliferation of SMEs all over the country, anything from a small store beside the house to a mobile food stall installed on a bicycle's sidecar.
But poverty isn't the only reason that Filipinos start businesses. Despite all the hardships, Filipinos are a creative, energetic people, filled with innovative ideas and a drive to take care of their own.
Most of all, Filipinos are hopeful and optimistic that on some distant, secret day, they will finally have something and get rich.
Can you share with us any successful stories of entrepreneurs from the Philippines?
Yes, absolutely. Henry Sy Sr. began life as a businessman with a simple sundry store. After World War II, he hit upon the idea of importing shoes from the United States.
As his business grew and he started selling items other than shoes, he realized he could import one other thing from the US: the concept of the mall. That's how Henry's brand name for his chain of malls, ShoeMart, came to be. In the early 1980s, Henry built SM North Edsa, at the time when the country's political and economic turmoil under a dictatorship made such a venture ludicrously risky. People scoffed at Henry's investment, but he paid them no heed.
Now, Henry Sy owns three of the ten largest malls in the world, and the SM brand has become a household name all over the country. At age 82, he is one of the richest men in the Philippines with a net worth US$ 1.4 billion, ranking 349 in Forbes magazine's 2007 Annual Billionaire's list.
Another equally astounding success story is that of John L. Gokongwei, Jr. At the age of 13, he would sell thread, candles and soap at a local market, sometimes earning up to 20 pesos a day. But after World War II, he managed to scrape together 50,000 pesos. From there onwards, he and his family moved on to importing, manufacturing, and creating break-out brands.
In his own words, "From one market stall, we are now in nine core businesses-including retail [Robinsons Retail Group], real estate [Robinsons Land Corporation, Robinson Galleria, Manila Midtown Hotels, etc.], publishing, petrochemicals [JG Petrochem], textiles [Litton Mills], banking [Robinsons Savings Bank], food manufacturing [Universal Robina Corporation], Cebu Pacific Air and Sun Cellular [plus Digitel]."
These two gentlemen are prime examples of Filipinos who made it big, but they are by no means the only ones.
In recent years, many successful businessmen began sharing their success stories with the rest of the nation, in hopes of igniting further efforts in entrepreneurship. One of the most prominent movements is Go Negosyo. Beginning from a simple book, "Negosyo: Joey Concepcion's 50 Inspiring Entrepreneurial Stories", it has evolved into a website offering all sorts of entrepreneurial services for Filipinos, including inspiring anecdotes, mentoring, toolkits for start-ups, and a means of connecting with others owning related businesses.
Using the concept of synergy, local entrepreneurs are out to make sure that not only will they find personal success, but that Filipino entrepreneurs as a whole will succeed together.
Below is a story of a Filipino Entrepreneur.
Written by Scott Scheper for Gaebler Ventures
Mark's Story – The Story of a Filipino Entrepreneur
I wish I could say that I had more noble reasons for becoming an entrepreneur.
In essence—I wanted a new cell phone!
Let me tell you just a little about myself. I am the eldest of three. When my dad left us, my mother had to do everything to keep us fed, clothed, and schooled. She threw herself into her business, a spare parts store for motorcycles.
I never cared much for that business. If you asked me then, it seemed boring and confusing, and took way too much time away from reading or playing video games.
After graduating, I decided to go into Information Technology. My field was (and still is) Software Quality Assurance—that is to say, testing. It's a simple job, really: programmers make programs; I do my best to break them. The more damage I did, the happier my boss became, and the more irritated the programmers.
I would sit for nine hours a day in a comfortable cubicle, with free coffee and iced tea, tapping away at a terminal and occasionally surfing the net for the latest film reviews. I would go home at night to my wife and my cat and we'd all have dinner, watch TV, and afterwards it's off to bed. Very occasionally, I would tally our expenses. We had just enough money to pay the rent, eat out often, and buy a piece of cheap furniture every two months or so.
One night as I lay in bed, I wondered to myself if there was a way, just a small, simple way to make a little cash in order to purchase something new, like say, a cell phone.
As a typical Filipino would, I thought about selling food. Filipinos love food. You can't walk five steps in this country without walking into some kind of restaurant or canteen.
After some deliberation, I decided to sell cashew nuts. Cashew is plentiful in my province, and there was plenty of stock to ship and sell to the capital. It was a sound idea, so I used a little money from my savings, bought a few kilos, and tried selling it to my neighbors and officemates.
As it turned out, the roasted cashew was delicious. People bought it up, and I myself had a hard time keeping my hands off the merchandise.
To make matters short, I made back investment thrice within two months. I had just enough money to buy a new cell phone for myself, provided I sold my old one.
I still have that cell phone. It's old now, scratched and pockmarked, but I'm holding onto it still, to remind myself of my achievement. That phone came from an idea—MY idea. Not my boss's. Not my mother's. It was an idle thought that became a reality. It was one of the most empowering experiences of my life.
I wanted a car next.
For the next few months, I invested again and rolled over the profits to purchase more cashews. I asked my mother to mentor me and help out with operations. At one point, I took out a loan from the bank to increase our funding.
I have to add here that there was something else happening deep inside of me. Up until then, I was content to feel content.
Now I was wondering what I was doing with my life. Do I really belong in a cubicle? Do I really need to punch in from 9 to 6? Do I really need to be told what to do every day like an organ grinder's monkey?

It was difficult to ignore these wheedling little questions. But one thing I couldn't ignore was this new realization: I wasn't passionate about my regular job. I longed for weekends and dreaded every workday. Most mornings I overslept. And what was so great about my work, anyway? It had all the interest of Sisyphus rolling his boulder up the hill only to watch it roll back down.
Starting a business brought these feelings into sharper focus.
This went on for precisely nine months. Then, January 2007, almost entirely on impulse, I decided to quit. Actually, my boss saw the sudden drop in my performance due to lack of interest, and decided to put me on an improvement program. I said I'd rather just quit to keep them from wasting valuable resources on me. At least the parting was amicable.
And so I struck out on my own. No exit plan, no hefty severance pay, nothing but my guts and my fledgling trading business to keep me going. It was like leaping into the void expecting the net to magically appear.
I wish I could tell you it was all wonderful from there. It hasn't been. My life has gone topsy-turvy.
I work everyday now. There are no such things as weekends anymore. I get up early in the morning to answer phone calls. I drive out to customers to deliver merchandise. I work on a computer terminal hammering out proposals. I sweat over my accounting and dread the day I have to talk to the bank about my loan. And I'm nowhere near buying a new cell phone, let alone a new car. In fact, I'm in debt with six digits.
If you ask me, business is confusing, and it still takes way too much time away from reading and video games.
But it's never boring. There's always something new going on, a new challenge, new people to meet, a new proposal to work on, a new product to market. I'm not yet a success, but for the life of me I can't shake the feeling that success could be just over that next hill. I just need to keep going, for a bit longer.
I look at my old, scratched and pockmarked cell phone and tell myself, I'll get there.
Scott Scheper is a venture finance enthusiast and serial entrepreneur hailing from Orange County, CA. Scott recently graduated from Chapman University where he was a Cheverton Fellow and graduated with honors in Finance, Management and Marketing.


  1. ofw sacrificing own just to gave his/her family a better life.... but how do the ofw think about there self?? im a ofw and just reading this article made me realized how we, the ofw think how we are spending our money... well.... hope that every ofw read this article... to have an idea that everyone of us will not be an ofw for all of our life!!!! so spend wisely and save for our future... then we will realized that we done a good job.... for our future.....

  2. I agree that OFW's and every Filipino should also start their own business and start being an entrepreneur. You dont necesarilly have to have big capital to start your own business. You can still work and be an entrepreneur at the same time. Very nice blog :) You may also resell our products online by visiting you can also resell products online and we will ship items for you no capital needed just pay when there are orders.