111+ 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. Virtual Assistant Business

Virtual assistants, freelancers, telecommuters or home-based workers. They all mean the same thing. Professionals who get paid to work from remote locations.

More and more people are getting into virtual assistance work because demand for these services continues to remain sky high. Companies outsource work to virtual assistants to streamline costs while generating income. The Philippines is a hotspot for virtual assistance talent!

If you’re proficient with the computer, the Internet, spreadsheet, and word processing software and your level of English is good; you can have a good career as a Virtual Assistant.

Be ready to invest in a good desktop PC, headset and subscribe to a reliable Internet provider.

2. Blogging Business

Are you a good writer? Do you believe you have the chops to create compelling content? Then consider blogging as one of the best small business ideas for you in 2017!

There is high demand for blogging services because content marketing is fast becoming the preferred online marketing strategy of many companies. But businesses prefer to outsource content writing to save money.

Writing is one of the fastest moving jobs in online work platforms such as Upwork, Freelancer, and Guru.

Related: How I Earned 190,957 PHP (US$4,062.93) on a Single Blog

3. Software Development Business

Did you hear about the teenager who taught himself how to design apps and was paid $30 Million by Yahoo! for a news app he made for the company?

Maybe not everyone can be like Nick D’Aloisio, but the fact is, businesses are always looking for apps that can push their company ahead of their competitors.

If you have an idea of what kind of app can service the needs of the general population, then you could have a goldmine in your fingertips.

4. Tutoring Business

More parents are looking for tutors for their kids because they have less time to attend to their educational needs. Traffic, the high cost of commodities, spiraling gas prices are among the few reasons parents are working harder than ever to make a living.

If you enjoy teaching children, have a knack for giving instruction and academically qualified, you could have a windfall of clients as a tutor.

Most tutorial centers only focus on the fundamentals of Math and English. Parents want tutors who can guide their children in their homework and when preparing for exams.

5. Gym/Fitness Center Business

A 2014 study showed that budget gyms were beginning to account for most of the memberships in the fitness industry. If you look around your neighborhood, you may find a new gym or fitness center opening up.

These budget gyms only charge 50 Pesos per workout or 500 Pesos for a monthly membership. Many of them are packed during the early mornings and late afternoons.

The cost of setting up a budget gym is lower because treadmills and stationary bikes are becoming relics. Most people prefer to do functional training to get fit.

This means you can have a serviceable gym with barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells, medicine balls, yoga mats and a few pieces of jump rope.

Related: Top 10 Home-Based Business Ideas and Opportunities for 2017

6. Coin Laundry Business

I saw the first coin laundry in 2015. Now they’re all over the metropolis. There’s even one that offers franchising packages.

For those who have traveled abroad, the coin laundry is a mainstay in motels and in the city. But the concept is very new in the Philippines. The coin laundry business has caught on because it is a cheap way to get laundry done and it appeals to those who put in long hours at work or school.

This can be quite capital extensive, but you can try to negotiate a lease program or a monthly cash payout with an equipment supplier.

7. Bakery Business

I’ve said it before: Filipinos love their carbs! It’s so hot in the Philippines that we just sweat out all the calories from carbs before they hit our waist!

A bakery has been a traditional small business idea in the Philippines because there is a steady market for it. Pan de sal, coco bread, Spanish bread and Pan de Luma are standard breakfast and merienda fare.

It also does not require much capital. All you need is a reliable oven and packaging materials. Spoilage and wastage are very minimal because bakers prepare only what they can sell for the day.

8. Photographer/Photography Business

If you have an eye for beauty, human interest stories, and still life, photography can be a lucrative career.

There are many types of work available for photographers: fashion, food, events, portraits and print ads just to name a few. But the required investment can be considerable.

Professional digital cameras can be expensive. In addition, you have to buy lighting equipment and photo-editing software. But if network hard and get into arrangements with event planners, publications and big companies you could have steady work for the year.

9. Convenience Store Business

Convenience stores are often referred to as a Sari Sari store in the Philippines. But the ones I’m referring to are different.

The stores are built out of concrete, they have more storage space, offer more products and services, and some have a built-in technology. But the prices are not much higher than Sari-Sari stores.

These are becoming more popular because they are cleaner and can sell merchandise in volume. They are also more profitable because they run more professionally. They do not honor credit and allow family and friends to take advantage of them.

10. Load Retailer Business

Load retailing will always have a steady, growing market in the Philippines. All you need is a cell phone. Once you register as a load retailer from any of the local carriers, you can start your business.

The margins in this type of business are not high. Expect to earn from 5% to 10% on every load you sell but then the costs are low. Don’t believe anyone who says you can be a millionaire selling a load.

But this can be a good side business to help you pay off some bills.

11. Real Estate Agent

All you need is to land 1 deal to get a large payout. That is the allure of getting into the real estate business. Agents can earn up to 3% of any property they sell. If you are able to sell a house for 20 Million, you will earn a commission of 600,000!

First, you need to take up 120 hours worth of classroom instruction from an accredited real estate training center. Then you need to pass your licensing exam from the Professional Regulation Commission or PRC.

A big part of the job is networking. You have to build your property and leads list.

12. Digital Marketer/Digital Marketing Business

Internet marketing has rendered traditional marketing obsolete. Businesses are looking for talent who can design and implement an effective digital marketing campaign for them.

If you have an understanding of web development, SEO, social media marketing, PPC Advertising, link building and content marketing, you could have a busy career as a digital marketer.

On average, digital marketers charge $500 to $1,500 for basic services. They net approximately half of that after they’ve paid off other team members. If you can land 10 clients, you could have a job that pays out 100,000 Pesos every month!

Related: 12 Legit Ways to Make Money Online in the Philippines

13. Fruit Stand Vending Business

This is another fast rising small business idea in the Philippines. Fruits have always been popular with Filipinos but more so today perhaps because it is summer or we all just want to get healthier.

You don’t need a large space as a fruit vendor but you should have a reliable supplier of fine quality fruits. With good inventory controls and forecasting, you can limit your rate of wastage and spoilage.

14. Internet Shop Business

If there is an inflation-proof business, it would be the Internet shop. It doesn’t matter if your neighborhood has 5 internet shops in a row. They will have a good business.

Filipinos love video games and Facebook. For 40 Pesos an hour, it’s a good deal for consumers.

This is another capital intensive business but there are computer suppliers that offer a lease to own programs which make it easier to put up the Internet shop.

15. Rice Retailing Business

Filipinos cannot do without rice. It is a staple in our diets. That is why rice retailers have a guaranteed market.

You can enter into a distributorship program and start out with the popular brands to gain experience. These popular brands include Sinandomeng, Dinorado, and Thai Long Grain. Offer rice in a variety of sizes to attract to a wider range of customers.

16. Water Refilling Station Business

This remains one of the best small business ideas in the Philippines for 2017 for two reasons: lack of potable water and the weather here is really getting hot.

You can find new water refilling stations opening a few blocks of one another, but they continue to rake in customers. Before deciding to start one, check the average price for a 5-gallon container. Prices can vary depending on the city.

17. Web Design Business

As consumers are growing more dependent on mobile devices to access the Internet, it becomes imperative for businesses to have a website. But surprisingly less than 50% of small businesses have websites.

If you are certified in web design and are proficient in various programs and Content Management Systems (CMS), you should find a growing market of business owners that would need your services.

18. Pet Sitting Business

The pet has become a part of the family. However, there are times when “Fido” and “Princess” have to stay at home. This is where the Pet Sitter comes in.

As a Pet Sitter, you must know how to take care of different kinds of pets not just dogs. You should know grooming, feeding and emergency medical aid. If you love animals, this could be a small business you could grow into a fun career.

19. Car Wash Business

More people are converting their garage into car wash services. In some of the places I’ve been to, many of these businesses are packed with long lines of cars. Business is good even on Sundays.

This is a labor intensive business. You need good, hardworking and trustworthy people to wash these cars. The hours can be long. I’ve seen some remain open until 9 pm to finish the last car on the line.

20. Network Marketing Business

Network Marketing is a small business idea that has survived negative news and bad publicity. The term is often associated with scammers who divest people of everything they have.

Thankfully, there are a number of reputable network marketing companies in the Philippines. I’ve read posts about people who have become millionaires within two years of network marketing. I cannot confirm whether these stories are real or just bait.

If you’re thinking about getting into network marketing, do some sleuthing on the company and the agent who is offering the business to you.

21. E-Commerce Business

In the United States, many of its largest retailers are closing up shop. The reason is they are losing market share to e-commerce businesses like Amazon.

E-commerce is the wave of retail’s future. In the Philippines, it is still a growing market simply because our Internet services are expensive and not up to par with the rest of the world.

Related: How to Start Your Own E-Commerce Business in the Philippines

But horrible traffic conditions, unpredictable weather and rising prices of commodities are creating favorable conditions for Filipinos to start patronizing Internet-based services.

If you want to start an e-commerce business, be prepared to invest in a reliable, fast and mobile responsive website.

22. Accounting Business

Accounting is one of the most popularly outsourced tasks. Companies prefer to have third party service providers to handle their accounting so they can save up on benefits and other costs related to hiring full-time employees.

You don’t have to be Certified Public Accountant (CPA) to run an accounting business. A CPA is required for auditing work. Otherwise, you can offer other services such as payroll preparation, bookkeeping and inventory management.

23. Air Con Repair Services Business

With today’s blistering heat and soaring temperatures, having an air-conditioner is no longer a luxury. It is an absolute necessity.

If you have a background in mechanical work and know people who are familiar with air-conditioning repair, you won’t run low on customers looking for your service.

24. MMA Instructor

MMA or Mixed Martial Arts is not just a sport or a form of self-defense. It is also a great way to stay in shape.

If you are a well rounded martial artist; you are an expert fighter on your feet and on the ground, you can find steady clientele from all ages. You can teach from home, offer personalized instruction or be a resident instructor at any of the large gym and fitness chains.

25. Landscape Artist

One of the most effective ways to increase the resale value of a home is to have a manicured garden. It is not easy to take care of a garden. Thus if a home has one that is landscaped, it raises its appeal and market value.

It’s not just about having a green thumb. You should have the creative ability to turn the land into a work of art. As a landscape artist, you will need to invest in tools and hire people who have experience in gardening and landscaping work.

Some small-sized landscapers make 30,000 Pesos for four days worth of work.

26. Computer Repair Business

Despite mobile devices taking over the Internet, the desktop PC remains an integral part of business. The best thing about the PC is that you just need to upgrade its programs and let it undergo regular maintenance.

A computer repair business helps people save money by just having their existing PC’s fixed instead of buying a new one. You can open a home-based repair shop or accept at-home repair work orders.

27. Buy and Sell Business

Nothing can be as more basic an idea in commerce than a buy and sell business. If you have an eye for bargains, you could have a lucrative small business idea in 2017.

If you have relatives living in the United States, ask them to send you a balikbayan box filled with clothes purchased from outlet stores or garage sales. Brand name items are very affordable, and you can make a decent profit selling them in the Philippines.

Toiletries are also popular among Filipinos, and these can be purchased at bargain basement prices from wholesalers such as Costco.

28. Swimming Instructor

Swimming is not just a great, low-impact way to get fit and healthy. It is also a survival skill. The perfect time to learn swimming is just before the summer season starts. But generally, the Philippines provides good weather for swimming almost year-round.

To become a swimming instructor, you have to be certified as a trainer and in first aid. If you don’t have access to an Olympic pool, offer personalized services.

29. Cooking Teacher

Filipinos love to cook. It’s a great way to bring friends together in the kitchen, start a business and an important skill to learn.

The first step is to choose a cuisine you are familiar with. Next, you can offer cooking instruction three ways: In your kitchen, in someone’s kitchen or online. Make sure you are adept at basic cooking skills such as slicing, chopping, braising, grilling and preparing mixes.

Although being a chef would give you more credibility, in the end, the proof is in the eating. Rachel Ray, Giada de Laurentiis, and Nigella Lawson are not chefs but are doing extremely well!

30. Catering Business

If you already know how to cook or if you are a chef, why not start a catering business? The best thing about a catering business is that your operating costs are lower. But you need to network aggressively to get clients. Go to wedding conventions and promote your services heavily on social media.

The catering business can be competitive so be prepared to take a hit on your margins to land your first few clients. But once you get going, as long as your food is good, you should be busy for the rest of 2017.

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