Quick Guide: Starting an Online Business During the Pandemic in the Philippines

Are you wondering if it’s the right time to start an online business during a pandemic in the Philippines?

Prepare to be surprised!

Over 73,276 online businesses registered at the height of the lockdowns last year!

So if you’re thinking of starting an online business — now is the time.

While we don’t know what lies ahead, experts agree that digitalization is here to stay. The faster that we adopt technology, the better we can benefit from it.

But where do you start? 

This article is your quick guide to starting an online business during the pandemic here in the Philippines.

Let’s dive right into it!

1. BEGIN WITH THE END IN MIND

Even before the pandemic started, people were already looking at what a company stands for — preferring to buy from companies whose purpose aligns with their beliefs.

And the pandemic heightened this demand.

In fact, 80% of Filipinos responded in a survey that they are willing to pay up to 10% more for sustainable and socially conscious products.

Gen Y and Gen Z consumers are more conscious of our shared social responsibility, demanding businesses to walk their talk.

So beyond money:

  • Why do you want to start your online business?
  • What contributions do you want to make through it?
  • Why does your business exist?

Answering these questions as early as now will not only position your business in a better light.

Your WHY will anchor you whenever you face the many challenges that will surely come your way once you start your online business. 

2. COME UP WITH AN IDEA

The pandemic brought with it many challenges, but challenges breed opportunities. 

The lockdowns in our country inspired many Filipinos to think of creative solutions to solve the current problems brought by the pandemic — and they turned online to start their businesses.

You’ve probably seen it yourself…

Many food trends came out during the pandemic: Dalgona Coffee, Sushi Bake, Ube Pandesal, and Korean Cheese Bread.

And because going out has become challenging, those who have the means to go out and travel offered Pasa-BUY and Pa-LAKAD services.

So how about you? 

If you need more inspiration, here are some questions to help you come up with business ideas:

  • What interests you? 
  • What are your skills and talents?
  • What’s currently booming or trending? 

A word of caution: don’t mistake a business trend with a business fad! 

Fad gets the initial hype but loses steam over time, whereas a trend lasts longer because people are less likely to lose interest in it. 

And here’s a BONUS TIP: 

Consider looking at the problems that deeply bother you and wish could be solved. 

Chances are, you’re not the only one bothered by that problem. If you can solve this problem for others, then this could be your viable business idea.  

3. DO YOUR RESEARCH

Starting a business is challenging enough — more so when you start an online business during a pandemic wherein the market and business landscape have shifted considerably.

You don’t want to go in blind and waste valuable resources. 

So where to start?

Choose the top 3 business ideas from your list and do your initial research. 

Check if there is a market for the product or service you want to sell. 

Is it something that people need, and are they willing to pay for it?

Look at who are the key players in the industry. Study what they are doing and think of how you can differentiate your business

Think of what is needed to succeed as well as the common challenges that you could face.

Once you have the necessary information, choose the best business idea for you.

4. WRITE DOWN YOUR GAME PLAN

In times of pandemic, being diligent and strategic is more crucial than ever. Especially now that business disruptions are still ongoing.

With proper planning and preparation, you can manage the risks that come with starting any business.

But don’t worry! 

Unless you’re planning to get investors or loans, you don’t need to write a comprehensive business plan.

Just get clear on what you want to offer, who your target market is, and how you’re going to position your business. 

Write down what you need: equipment, tools, supplies, inventory, skills upgrade, vendors, solution partners, etc.

Figure out the starting capital you need to get your online business up and running. And how much money you’ll need to allocate as backup funds to help sustain your business

If there’s one thing that the pandemic has taught us, it’s that we need to have contingency plans for the unexpected.

Make your online business legit by registering! Be sure to familiarize yourself with eCommerce laws and policies to protect your business and your customers. 

5. SET UP YOUR ONLINE BUSINESS

It’s time to build your business presence online

Choosing where to start your online business during the pandemic in the Philippines will depend on your goals, needs, and budget.

That said, you also need to consider what will help you the most in running your online business.

Here are different ways to set up your online business with their advantages and disadvantages:

  • Own eCommerce Website
PROSCONS
Sell directly to customersNeed a start-up capital to build a website
Control on design and featuresOn-going costs to run and maintain
Build email listWork out the logistics for payment, shipping, and managing the website
PROSCONS
No entry cost to sell on the platformHuge competition
Huge customer baseDifficult to stand out 
Integrated payment and shipping optionsViewership based on their algorithm
  • Social Commerce Platforms (like Facebook, Instagram, Viber, and WhatsApp)
PROSCONS
No entry cost to sell on the platformManual and tedious, especially in posting and answering customer inquiries
Huge customer baseWork out the logistics of payment and shipping
Sell directly to customersDo not own customer list (if the platform shuts down, you lose your list)

Keep in mind that the platform you choose could make or break your online business — but it doesn’t have to break your bank! 

So do your research, ask around, and take advantage of free demos

Choose:

Once you’ve set up your online business storefront, it’s time to let the world know about it. Read this article next to help you get started on your marketing!

Conclusion

Starting an online business during the pandemic in the Philippines is possible! The key is to start your business right so it can withstand any setbacks. 

With proper planning and execution, you’re already setting your business up for success!

So again, here’s your quick guide to starting your online business right:

  • Begin With The End In Mind
  • Come Up With An Idea
  • Do Your Research
  • Write Down Your Game Plan
  • Set Up Your Online Business

Prosperna is on a mission to empower 100,000 Philippine MSMEs with affordable and easy-to-use eCommerce software.

We make online selling simple, easy, and affordable with our newest social commerce solution, myChat mobile app: 

  • Create your mini online store for free 
  • Accept online and offline payments
  • Automatically book shipping
  • Sell directly inside Facebook (Instagram, Viber, and WhatsApp coming soon!)

Ready to get started? Download myChat on Google Play Store for FREE today!

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Dennis Velasco

Dennis Velasco

Technology evangelist super passionate about helping MSMEs "level the playing field" with technology.

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