The start of every New Year is greeted with the tradition of making resolutions. People make resolutions because they look at the New Year as a new chapter in their lives—new beginnings, new relationships, and perhaps a new career. One of the most popular resolutions for Filipinos is to start a small business at home.
Operating a small business from home offers you several advantages:
- Less costs. If you’re testing a concept or idea with a new product or service, limiting your operating costs is always a good idea. Rent is one of the most expensive fixed cost items in business.
- Working from home removes rent from the equation. However, always remember to factor in a “theoretical cost” for rent even when you are working from home. Your accountant needs this “theoretical cost” to have an accurate measurement of your income.
- Convenient. With the MRT situation still in limbo, EDSA undergoing a face-lift, and a lack of a centralized traffic management system, traffic will only get worse. Other problems will make the commuting to work a nightmare in the next four years.
- Higher productivity. You can control your time when you run your own business and work from home. You can also expect for the productivity to go sky high when there are few things to worry about and few stress factors to deal with.
The New Year may just be the perfect time to start your small business from home! The following are the two reasons:
- Motivation is high. In reality, January 1, 2016 is just another day. The things that were left undone or unaccomplished in 2015 are still left as they were. Although the status remains unchanged, the attitude did change.
- People are highly motivated at the start of every year. They look at it as “Day 1”; thus, they have 364 more days ahead to make a difference. Once all the smoke from the fireworks have cleared, people become excited to start planning for the new business!
- Demand is slow in the first quarter. Historically, market demand is slow during the first quarter of the year.
- People are trying to recover their expenses from the Yuletide Season. Students are preparing for the home stretch and spend less time in malls. Businesses are getting their year-end strategies in place for the new fiscal year.
- The first quarter of the year is the perfect time to PLAN your business. This is the time when you should develop ideas, conduct research, and prepare your business plan.
By contrast, demand picks up in the second quarter. Consumers are inclined to spend more during the summertime. If you used your time in the first quarter wisely, you should be ready to launch your business by the second quarter.
Remember, you have only three months for your business to gain traction! Demand starts to slow down by May because people are saving up for the start of school.
If you want to get your small business at home off to a flying start, it would be best to start NOW!
How to Start a Small Business at Home in the Philippines
1. Find an idea and build up on it!
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “Necessity is the mother of all invention.” Great ideas are born out of necessity because necessity inspires innovation.
Look for the best, most ideal place for you to gain inspiration. Open your mind and ask yourself what goods and services would sell in the Philippines and perhaps other places in the world. List them all down on a piece of paper.
Do not discriminate! Just write everything that comes to mind. This process involves accumulating ideas. Let’s call it a “business funnel”; the larger the opening of the funnel, the more ideas you can filter through.
2. Qualify each idea and select the best one
Through elimination, cross out every idea that does not appeal to you. Initially, this will move fast. However, as more ideas are crossed out, the process slows down because the ones that are left start to make sense.
If you are down to the last five ideas, do a preliminary research on each idea. Use the Internet for resources or talk to people whose opinions you trust when it comes to business. These ideas should be the ones you feel you are capable of managing.
3. Develop a brand
Once you have selected the type of business you want to put up, develop a brand!
Yes, develop a brand right away. Most entrepreneurs make the mistake of developing a brand once the business has gained traction. However, how will the business gain traction if the market does not know what it is?
Your brand represents your business, and your business represents YOU. Thus, building a brand starts by identifying your purpose. Identifying your purpose starts with the question “why?”
“Why did you decide to get into this kind of business?”
“To make money” is not a purpose! Even charity organizations and foundations receive money in the form of donations or grants to function and sustain its operation.
The “why” determines your purpose:
- Do you want to address a need?
- Do you want to introduce an innovation?
- Do you want to present a solution or an alternative?
Developing your brand starts with the name of the product and your business. The simple rule is that its name must be aligned and easily identifiable with your purpose.