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Did you know that the internet in the Philippines is an increasingly popular way for entrepreneurs and business owners to expand their reach?

After all, this country is ideal for aspiring and seasoned entrepreneurs because of our rapidly growing economy, a large population of English speakers, and the relatively low cost of online transactions!

This makes it ideal for online selling in the Philippines and internationally.

But perhaps as an entrepreneur, you tend to wonder if you have what it takes to start your own online business in the Philippines. The answer is yes!

In this article, we’ll walk through key activities and how you can easily get started on the right foot and build a legit online enterprise.

1. Choose the best business for you:

The first step to starting an online business in the Philippines is choosing the right business type for you.

There are many different types of businesses online, so choosing one that is well-suited to your skills, interests, and resources is important. Do some research and make a list of potential businesses that interest you.

Once you’ve narrowed down your options, try to get an idea of ​​the costs associated with each type of business. For example, if you’re interested in starting an ecommerce business, you’ll need to factor in hosting, website design, and inventory costs. With a better understanding of the costs involved, you can start to think of your profit margins and promotions to market your online business.

2. Get your business licenses and permits:

Before starting your business, you’ll need to obtain the relevant licenses and permits from the Philippine government.

Depending on the type of business you’re starting, you may need to register with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). The process can be a bit daunting, but it’s important to ensure that you comply with all of the relevant laws and regulations.

Once your business is registered, you can obtain a Certificate of Registration, proving that your business is legitimate. In addition, you will be listed in the government’s registry of businesses, making it easier for potential customers to find you. Registering your business is an important step in ensuring compliance with Philippine law, so be sure to complete this process as soon as possible.

3. Best types of online businesses for new entrepreneurs:

If you’re new to entrepreneurship, there are certain types of businesses that are better suited for beginners.

These include businesses that require little capital investment, such as dropshipping or affiliate marketing.

Dropshipping is a business model in which you sell products without carrying any inventory. Instead, when a customer makes an order, you purchase the product from a supplier and have it shipped directly to their doorstep.

Affiliate marketing is another business model that requires little upfront investment. With affiliate marketing, you promote products or services on your website or blog and earn a commission whenever someone clicks on one of your links and makes a purchase.

These are just two examples of businesses that are easy to start and require minimal financial investment.

That said, you can consider many other types of legit online businesses. We’ve included a few options below:

1) Service Businesses: Service businesses are perfect for freelancers who want to start small and have a lower overhead cost. This type of business usually involves providing a service such as consulting, freelancing, or even unique home services like dog walking or pet sitting.

2) Ecommerce Businesses: Ecommerce platforms have exploded in popularity in recent years due to technological advances and the increased in purchasing power of Filipino consumers. This type of business involves selling products or services online through a company website, online marketplaces or in social media platforms.

3) Online Reseller Businesses: Online reseller businesses have become increasingly popular in recent years, as they offer a simple way to start an online business with very little upfront investment. What you need is to source for products at a lower cost and resell it at higher prices.

4) Online Vegetable Businesses: With a growing demand for vegetable delivery services in the Philippines, starting an online vegetable business is possible with very little overhead cost. This type of business usually involves setting up an account on an online marketplace like Lazada or Shopee and listing your products for sale.

5) Cosmetic Retailer: Do you love trying out new cosmetics? If so, you could start your own business as an online cosmetic retailer. This type of business usually involves setting up an account on an online marketplace like Amazon or eBay and listing your products for sale.

6) E-Loading Business: E-loading businesses have become increasingly popular in recent years. Similar to reselling, you purchase load credits at below retail rates and sell it to consumers at a retail price.

7) Print-on-Demand Business: If you have creative talent and an eye for design, print-on-demand businesses may be something to look into. A print-on-demand business is a type of ecommerce business where you find suppliers who manufacture white-label products (like t-shirts or coffee mugs). You then add your own designs and branding to those products and sell them online. 

4. Becare of these Illegal Businesses

While researching and exploring different business ideas, be careful not to dabble in outright illegal businesses. Afterall, you’ll be looking to start an legit online business. Thus, it’s good to know that the following are some examples of businesses that are not allowed in the Philippines:

  1. Selling and distributing pornography
  2. Child prostitution
  3. Drug trafficking
  4. Human trafficking
  5. Illegal gambling
  6. Piracy
  7. Smuggling
  8. Tax evasion
  9. Hacking and cybercrime
  10. Bribery and corruption

The above are a handful of businesses that aren’t permitted in the Philippines. As you want to avoid getting into legal trouble, investigate any business venture you’re considering before committing.

5. Set up a company website:

Once you’ve decided on the type of online business you want to start, building your online presence is the next step to think about.

In today’s digital world, your website is often the first point of contact between you and your potential customers. Hence, it’s important that your site makes a good impression.

Your website should look legitimate, professional and informative. Apart from that, be sure to include clear calls-to-action (CTAs), so potential customers can take the appropriate next step.

For example, if you’re selling products, you’ll want to include a ‘buy now button on your website. If you’re offering services, you’ll want to include a “contact us” form, so interested customers can easily get in touch or know how they can take the next step.

Always remember that your website is typically the first point of contact for your potential customers, especially for businesses that are operating online. Thus, it is crucial to ensure the conditions mentioned above are met.

And gone were the days where creating an online store requires heavy coding. Given the technological advancements over the years, building a professional website is much easier than before. Instead of engaging a website builder to create your online store if you do not have coding background, you can set up your ecommerce website with free online store builders available in the market.  Most of these platforms provide pre-built themes coupled with drag and drop functions so you can easily pick your design and fonts without having to tweak any existing codes.

The Shopboxo app is one webstore builder with all the features you need to run and start and grow any online business. Not only is this app entirely free, but it is also completely manageable from your smartphone. So, you can log in on different browsers or devices to manage your store. This makes it way more convenient for business owners as you can always run your store on the go.

6. Create social media accounts for your business:

As mentioned earlier, digital presence is vital to any online businesses to build brand presence and one of the best way to execute it is through social media. It has become an integral part of marketing because nearly two-thirds of the population is active on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tiktok. This implies that there’s a huge potential audience for your business to tap into – if you know how to reach them.

Hence, creating social media accounts is a great first step. Once you’ve set-up your accounts, start sharing engaging content that promotes your brand that can help to drive traffic to your website. Use creative images and video to capture viewers’ attention, and be sure to include call-to-actions that encourage your followers to take action.

With consistent posting, you can quickly build a following of engaged potential customers – and turn social media into a powerful marketing tool for your business. It’s also a great platform to connect and engage with customers to show them that you care. In turn, it helps to grow a community of individuals who can potentially be your regular customers.

7. Market your business online

Now that both your website and social media accounts are set up, it’s time to dabble into other marketing aspects to amplify your brand authority. And the good news is, there are several free and low-cost ways to do this.

Content marketing is one great way to market your business. This involves creating and sharing helpful, engaging content that promotes information about your brand, products or knowledge sharing in the form of tips and tutorials.

Content can be created in different formats such as blog posts, infographics and videos.  While the end product may differ between each type, the purpose remains the same, which is to create interesting, informative content that provides value to your target audience.

Another great way to market your business online is through search engine optimization (SEO). This involves optimizing your website so that Search Engines are able to identify your webpages. Without SEO, there is a chance that your website will not appear in Search. And as a result, potential customers who are searching for your brand or product will be unable to locate your webstore. 

And last but not least, email marketing. This is a great way to stay in touch with your customers and promote your online business. Emails should drafted in a creative manner that can capture the attention of readers. One example is to create interesting email titles that entices users to click and read. Like the rest of the online marketing collaterals, always include CTAs within your email so that readers can take the next step if they wish to find out more.

Conclusion:

Starting an online business is easier than ever before using free website builders to create your ecommerce store while using social media platforms to promote it.

On the legitimate side of things, always conduct research to confirm that the products you are selling are not prohibited in the Philippines. Besides that, do get your license and permit before moving on to the next step.

Finally, for your business to grow and be successful, invest some time and effort into marketing such as content creation for better outreach and brand promotion.

Common Questions About Creating A Legit Online Store

Which Business Is Best for Online?

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the best online business will depend on your unique skills and experience. However, some of the most successful online businesses include ecommerce stores, content marketing agencies, and SEO consultancies.

Is Online Business Legal in the Philippines?

Yes, online business is legal in the Philippines. However, you need to ensure that you follow all of the necessary regulations to avoid penalties.

Do I need to register my online business in the Philippines?

All businesses that are selling a product or service, both offline and online requires to be registered with BIR.

anyone doing business or earning income in any manner or form, including those that make money online, or sell products or services, is required to be registered with BIR.

However, there is an exemption for businesses that are selling products “irregularly”. Example of such businesses are selling homemade products as a hobby, where DTI doesn’t consider it as a business.

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