65 Best Small Business Ideas in the Philippines for 2017


Even before 2016 was put out to pasture, market analysts from different industries were forecasting 2017 to be one of the worst years in our history. But trust me when I state that you will have great opportunities for best small business ideas in the Philippines for 2017!

Whether your enterprise fared well last year or not, remember that there will always be an opportunity for business. You can choose to switch enterprises or diversify to improve or change your value proposition.

The key is to have an open mind so you can find opportunities when they present themselves.

To guide you, I have made this updated list of the best small business ideas in the Philippines for 2017. There are quite a few additions which I feel present themselves as viable options for you.

Best Small Business Ideas in the Philippines for 2017

1. E-Commerce

It should be of no surprise that e-Commerce is first on the list. Global e-Commerce sales are estimated to hit $2.3 Trillion this year and $4.05 Trillion in 2020.

E-Commerce remains the most convenient way to shop especially in the Philippines where traffic continues to become a daily problem.

The first thing you need is a business idea that you can run online. It could be products like dry goods or services such as consultation. Then you have to invest in a professionally made website.

Related: How to Start an Online Business in the Philippines

2. Virtual Assistance

Virtual assistants are also referred to as freelancers, home-based workers or telecommuters. They are talented professionals who render services online from a remote location usually their home.

Virtual assistance has been changing the idea of the workforce over the last five years.

In the United States, 37% of workforces are composed of virtual assistants. It is estimated that by 2020, the number will rise to 60% to 65%.

The Philippines is a popular destination for virtual assistants. Inexperienced virtual assistants earn around $3.5 per hour. More experienced VA’s can charge up to US$12 per hour.

If you have skills and experiences in administrative and support services, virtual assistance could be a great business idea for you in 2017.

3. Content Writing

Content writing is a highly in-demand service because great content drives marketing strategies today. Many companies are outsourcing content writing to streamline costs and to widen the search for talent.

Content writers who are just starting out can expect to earn $0.006 per word. Once you gain experience and expand your portfolio, you can easily increase your rate to US$0.015.

If you want to become a content writer, your level of English proficiency must be high. You should be able to shift from one style of writing to the next, and you must enjoy research.

4. Social Media Marketing

How big is Social Media Marketing? Of the 3.5 Billion people online every day, 2 Billion are on social media. Businesses realize how important social media is to enhance their online presence.

If you want to have a career in social media marketing, you should take courses and become certified. Certification not only increases your profile but it teaches you how to create effective social media strategies.

Social media marketers can earn $500 to $1,500 per month depending on the suite of services selected by the client.

5. Web Design

It was shocking to note that as of 2016, 75.2% of businesses surveyed did not have a website. In a world that is driven by the Internet and influenced by social media, it is unthinkable not to have a website.

What this means is that there is still a growing market for website design. If you have undergone training and certification in website design, this could be an extremely viable business idea in the Philippines for 2017.

You should know how to make a variety of websites and to design them to become mobile responsive.

Web Designers can make anywhere from $500 to $1,500 per website depending on the specifications. E-Commerce websites are more expensive to build. Programming skills will raise your value proposition.

6. SEO Consultation

Increasing demand for social media marketing services and content writing plus the expected rise in the number of websites mean only one thing: more businesses will require SEO consultation.

SEO or Search Engine Optimization works to have your content found, and that means your social media posts, published blogs, articles and website copy. Without SEO, it doesn’t matter how well you wrote content. No one will be able to find it on the Internet.

To become an in-demand SEO Consultant, you must know how to conduct keyword research. You should also have an appreciable understanding of website design, coding, content writing, link building, Pay Per Click advertising and social media marketing.

7. Accounting

One of the biggest reasons small businesses close up within five years time is the lack of proper money management policies. They don’t have accounting because it costs to maintain an in-house group.

They would prefer to outsource it to 3rd party service providers because it would be more affordable. A retention arrangement will cost 5,000 to 10,000 per client per month.

If you can land ten clients, you can easily earn 50,000 to 100,000 Pesos per month!

Becoming a Certified Public Accountant or CPA is a plus but not necessary. You should be familiar with accounting software such as QuickBooks. You may have to hire an assistant for encoding purposes.

8. Transcription Services

The Philippines remains a popular destination for companies that want transcription services. This includes medical, legal, close caption, business, and academic transcription.

The rates will vary depending on the type of transcription. Medical transcribers usually charge US$0.09 per line while legal transcribers charge US$2.2 per minute of audio.

You should invest in a reliable computer, a good headset, and institute improvements to minimize noise in your work area.

9. Network Marketing

Despite the negative publicity the past few years, more Filipinos continue to get into network marketing. The truth is while there are scammers, there are legitimate operators.

While the industry may seem saturated, it is not. Some people continue to generate a good income from network marketing. The key is to work hard in building your network.

10. Resource Process Outsourcing

Resource Process Outsourcing is Human Resources 2.0. With the continued discussions on eliminating contractualization, the demand for RPO services is expected to rise.

RPO is not just recruiting and hiring talent. Unlike traditional HR, RPO invests in talent by providing consistent training and orientation. Its purpose is to develop employees into leaders that can help the company grow and attain its objectives.

If you had experience in HR, a degree in Psychology and certified in leadership training programs such as John Maxwell and Strengths Based Leadership, RPO could be a lucrative field for you.

Companies often shell out $3,000 per month for RPO consultancy services.

11. English Instruction

English Instruction is a perennial member of the best small business ideas in the Philippines for any given year. Filipinos are highly proficient in written and spoken English. This is why students from South Korea, Taiwan, China and Japan come here to learn English.

You can also become an online English instructor. You can make anywhere from 15,000 Pesos to 50,000 Pesos per month depending on your level of expertise and total work hours.

If you want to be an English Instructor, you should first take and pass TOEFL or Test of English as Foreign Language.

12. Tutorial Services

More and more tutorial services are opening up. I believe this is because most of the tutorial services available do not offer instruction on current lessons but just orientation on the basics.

You do not have to be a licensed teacher to become a tutor, but you should demonstrate or be able to prove your proficiency in the specialty subject of your choice.

You can run tutorial services online, at your home or through one-on-home visitation arrangements.

13. Real Estate Agency

Real estate is an investment that pays out over a period of time. Because of the high demand for the property plus the diminishing supply of available areas for development, real estate has become a more viable investment.

Real estate agents earn 2% to 3% commissions on the final sale price of the property. If you can sell a 5 Million Pesos house, you could earn 100,000 to 150,000 Pesos in commissions!

To become a real estate agent, you have to complete 120 hours of a real estate course at any accredited training center then take the licensing exam at the Professional Regulation Commission or PRC.

14. Property Development

A friend of mine inherited 5 Million Pesos and used it to buy property and build a three bedroom home for sale. She was able to sell the home for 6.3 Million within four months.

She used the proceeds to buy the adjacent property and build another home. It was sold within four months. She then bought two more properties and sold the houses early this year.

Within one year, she grew her initial capital of 5 Million to Nearly 15 Million! Property development requires more capital, savvy money management and a keen eye for hot areas. But the money to be made is there.

15. Sari Sari Store

The Sari-Sari store is the traditional Philippine convenience store. Don’t let its simple appearance fool you. If properly managed, a Sari-Sari Store business can net you 50,000 every month!

Here are the three basic rules of managing a Sari-Sari Store

  • Accept cash payment only; no credit allowed.
  • Be strict and precise with inventory management from stock keeping to recording.
  • Don’t allow your family and friends to turn it into their stock room. Everyone pays for what they get!

If your home has a good sized area that is accessible to the street, you can set up your Sari Sari store there.

Related: How to Start a Sari-Sari Store with Small Capital in the Philippines

16. Halo-Halo Refreshments Kiosk

Halo-Halo to Filipinos is like coffee to North Americans. The weather does not matter; warm or cool season, Filipinos will have their Halo Halo!

The cost of making Halo-Halo is not much. The highest food cost item is the Leche Flan. But generally, you can generate good profit with a 50 Pesos serving of Halo Halo.

You can rent a small kiosk near a high traffic area. Or better yet, include Halo-Halo as a product offering in your Sari Sari store!

17. Fruit Stand

Even before the holidays, I noticed more Filipinos are patronizing fruit stands than grocery stores to replenish the stock of their favorite fruit.

Based on my observation, fruit stands not only offer products at affordable prices, but the quality is better. In a supermarket that I frequently go to, they charge 200 Pesos for Pomelo from Davao. But in the local fruit stand, seedless Pomelo only cost me 90 Pesos!

If you have trusted suppliers of fresh fruit, a fruit stand would be a good business idea in the Philippines for 2017. Another reason is Filipinos are adopting a healthier lifestyle.

18. Cell Phone Loading Business

The cell phone loading business has been around for more than a decade, and it figures to make another good run for another ten years.

The number of smartphones in the Philippines is estimated to be at 33.3 Million, and it is expected to hit 44.4 Million by 2021.

But interestingly there are an estimated 117 Million mobile phone subscribers. This is because some have multiple phone subscriptions. Of the 117 Million, more than 90% are pre-paid.

This creates a large market for the cell phone loading business. Keep in mind though that returns are not that big. You net only 7% from every load that you sell.

19. Internet Shop

Despite the growing number of smartphone users and tablet owners in the Philippines, Internet shops continue to flourish. Although you often see office people using these services to print out documents the more significant factor is the gaming segment.

Go to any Internet shop, and you will see on any given day gamers in one section banging away on the keyboards. While gamers bring in the market for the Internet shop, they also accelerate wear and tear of your equipment.

20. Corporate Massage

Here’s an interesting business idea that was brought up to me by a client from Australia. More companies are contracting corporate massage services for their employees because of the following benefits:

  • Lowers the risk of absenteeism due to chronic pain and work related conditions
  • Improves morale
  • Increases productivity
  • Encourages positive disposition and attitude toward the company
  • Lowers attrition rate

Most of all the services are affordable! I have no idea of the price range, but it should approximate those offered by home service massage therapists.

I only saw this at a popular hamburger restaurant a few years ago. It did not seem like a good idea to massage diners, but it should work well within the corporate setting.

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