In 2018, more than 700,000 Filipinos graduated with a degree according to the Commission on Higher Education. And while the next step for many of these graduates is to enter the corporate world, a few choose to pursue further studies, and even a smaller few decide to set up their own businesses.
But that may be changing. With increased access to information, greater Internet penetration, and widespread use of digital devices, businesses for fresh grads have now become easier to set up.
Thinking of starting a business right after college? The first step is to begin with the skills and tools that you already have. These can be the seed for low-cost business ideas that — with time and determination — can develop into a full-fledged enterprise.
We asked several startups on the best business ideas for new college graduates:
1. Online Selling
Total Investment Cost: P60,000+
Selling online remains to be one of the cheapest and easiest ways to get into business. With virtually no overhead costs, and minimal digital infrastructure expenses because of the many free online selling platforms available out there, online selling has seen success across many industries: from gadgets to beauty products, crafts to cars, and food to fashion.
For selling online, a useful tip to remember is to find your own niche to differentiate yourself and not just be another seller showcasing the same items as others. If your items are of a more premium quality, then you can target a more premium market. Your brand visuals should also communicate this premium aesthetic.
Successful sellers also get additional perks from their partners such as Lazada and Globe myBusiness’ Masterclass eVolution for LazClub members.
2. Digital Marketing and Social Media
Total Investment Cost: P60,000+
As more consumers go online, brands are devoting more time and money to digital advertising instead of traditional advertising. And they’re looking for experts to help guide them in, for example, search engine optimization (SEO), Facebook and Twitter ads, or basic digital ads. Social media has also become serious business for brands. However, not every business has the time or manpower to create a social media content plan or respond to customer queries.
According to Rannie Ramos, founder of digital marketing company iDigital Solutions, “You should upgrade and start crafting your digital marketing skills. There are a lot of online and offline resources you can read, such as Google, Moz.com, SearchEngineLand, Neil Patel, and others. Once you have developed your basic skills, sell yourself [to companies] even if the payment for your initial set of engagements is low; you’ll eventually hone your skills.”
Social media management, meanwhile, is about “understanding a brand and how best to represent it online to its customers,” says Peter Imbong, a freelance digital content manager and copywriter. “It’s about listening to a brand’s community, analyzing statistics and user sentiment, figuring out what they want — and don’t want — and crafting relevant branded content based on the data you gathered while keeping in mind the brand’s products or services.”
3. Business Support
Total Investment Cost: P130,000+
Businesses need support in more ways than one. They may need assistance with accounting and bookkeeping, searching for wholesale buyers, managing and organizing data, business registration and permits, and other tasks.
Burket, for example, is a B2B (business-to-business) market network that matches products or services to the right buyer. “You don’t need to be tech-savvy to be able to start off,” says Herbert Joei Bactong, co-founder and CEO. “As long as you understand your business fully and know how to execute, you can easily look for a tech co-founder or outsource your development. The most important part though is making sure that what you’re building gives value to your target users.”
For Wilbert Uy of Thumbsapp Solutions, a software company that helps Filipino businesses, “You also need to build your core team. We know a lot of brilliant solo founders out there but I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t make it alone. Having a core team gives you more insights, new perspectives, and more fun.”
4. Events Management
Total Investment Cost: P135,000+
Whether it’s birthday parties, weddings, or product launches, there’s always a team behind the successful planning and execution of every event. It’s about the careful management of all participants and suppliers in achieving a specific goal.
According to Ninya Flavio, event director at Happy Flower Child Productions, an events and video production company, “You need to be able to connect and gain trusted, dependable, and creative third-party suppliers. It will give you ease in coordination, [an] advantage in being flexible in pricing, and additional brains to help you get creative in developing concepts for bids.”
At the same time, you also need to identify your strengths as a manager and the type of events you want to specialize in. “That way, it’ll be easier to target and communicate to your market in terms of your portfolio and other marketing materials.”
5. Content Creation and Media Production
Total Investment Cost: P230,000+
Businesses need content. Whether it’s blog articles for their website, copy for their marketing materials, or short videos to explain their business, you could be the one creating it for them. If you have a knack for words or know how to shoot and edit short videos, put those skills to good use. Macanne Ltd, for example, produces blogs, web videos, and a line of magazines for businesses.
According to founder Mackie Dauz, you need to build and expand your network when starting out. “Having a well-expanded network may give you more opportunities to market your products and also get a good set of different perspectives and opinions that may help you improve your company.”
He advises to learn to collaborate with other business and startups as well. That way, you can learn the basics of the industry and conduct a trial phase of your products and services within your network.
Total Investment Cost: P250,000-P1,500,000
For those who want an already-established and tested business concept, franchising may be the appropriate route to take. With business processes already in place, a brand name already established, and the support of the head office to guide and train you, it’s no wonder why many first-time entrepreneurs choose to franchise a business instead.
While food concepts are the most popular, take a look at service-oriented concepts as well. Your total investment costs will vary according to the brand and the size of the proposed enterprise.
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