Almost 2 million Filipinos work as Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs).
These OFWs make up around 10 percent of the Philippines’ Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as they send around Php 800 billion each year to the country.
This is a very substantial amount, and a lot of people tend to think that OFWs live a glamourous life abroad.
In actual fact, most OFWs earn just enough to support themselves and their families.
This is the reason why many financial advisors recommend that they invest in different businesses to help them maximise their hard-earned money, and make more out of it.
The trick here is to choose the business that is the most financially viable. Once you invest your money into something that won’t work, you might just lose all your capital.
In this article, we have shortlisted the top five trades and industries that OFWs can invest as per the recommendations of local financial analysts.
(We’ve also arranged them according to the scale of the business – from small to big – so you can gauge where to invest based on how much money you have now).
1. Sari-Sari Store Or A Mini Grocery
This might seem like a regular business but it’s actually a great investment, considering that it requires minimal financial investment and low overhead costs.
Sari-sari stores in the Philippines are so commonplace that you are bound to get a return on your investment, and further build on your profits.
The great thing about a sari-sari store or a mini grocery is that you can allocate a space in your home to set it up.
If you have a spouse or a relative who can man the store for you, that would be an advantage because you can get easily get updates from them on how it’s doing.
But if you don’t have a space in your home, you can rent a space somewhere with heavy foot traffic.
Since you are abroad, you can also sell imported items at an affordable price, giving your store a unique selling proposition.
2. Set Up An Online Business
First-time Filipino entrepreneurs can test their managing and enterprise skills through online businesses.
There are around 3.3 billion people worldwide who are on the Internet every day, and you can bank on this to make your online business boom.
Moreover, there are so many things you can sell online and at marked down prices. With plenty of big sales happening all year round overseas, you can use this to your business advantage.
Selling items at a lower price than retail cost at malls will entice people to keep buying from you.
Another target audience would be women. You can sell your pre-loved clothes online as long as they’re in excellent and wearable condition.
You don’t even have to make a website of your own because you can simply set up a Facebook account – for free.
In addition, more than 60 per cent of the 3.3 billion mentioned earlier, are on social media. As such, it only makes sense to tap on this platform as your business front in order to raise brand awareness and secure more customers.
Taking photos of the inventory is also easy because there are many cheap mobile phones available that can capture quality photos.
At the end of the day, the possibilities and resources are limitless with this business.
Be it a food cart, a convenience store (like 7-11), or a restaurant, this kind of business will definitely profit.
Food is a favourite of Filipinos, therefore you can never go wrong with investing in a franchise.
However, this would require a bigger investment compared to the first two businesses, and is also a bit more complicated.
You need to send someone to learn from the franchisors on how to start the business, how it operates, human resource management, and most importantly, the financial aspect.
This person should also be willing to attend seminars and training sessions regularly in order to ensure that your business won’t go bankrupt.
When opening a food cart or franchising a restaurant, you have to make sure to choose a well-established brand so you can expect a faster return of investment and higher income.
Minimal labour is needed when you opt to franchise a food cart business, but operating a convenience store or a franchise restaurant would require more employees and more labour.
You need to also make sure to choose your location wisely because this would make or break your new business venture.
Try to look for locations near schools or buildings where you know your food cart, convenience store, or franchise restaurant would be easily visible and accessible.
4. Start a Travel Agency, Or A Manpower and Recruitment Placement Agency
Starting this business would be even more complex because you have to obtain a permit from the government.
For the travel agency business, you can promote it to the friends you’ve made abroad. Besides helping to raise brand awareness, it can also help to boost the Philippines’ economy through tourism.
It’s a good choice because you know your way around Philippines, and can easily entice foreigners to visit your country.
If you decide to take this road, you can consider including ticket booking, accommodation, as well as tour packages.
You can also include Filipinos as your potential customers because a lot of people love to travel nowadays, and they would go for the most affordable package in the market.
As for the manpower and recruitment placement agency, you have to go through the Philippines Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) in order to be accredited and employ people.
As you are already abroad, you can help foreigners look for the best Filipino employees. This is a potentially big business that can help expand your network and grow your finances.
5. Real Estate
A lot of OFWs lean towards real estate investments because immovable property is really worth one’s money.
It is not just for personal gain because you can utilise it to set up a business in the long run, rent it out, or sell it at a higher costs once your land’s value goes up.
But needless to say, you have to familiarise yourself with the real estate business before investing.
That said, either you or a trusted person will have to attend a real estate training course to fully understand the ins and outs of the business.
Final points to remember:
- Be sure to only invest your money if you have an emergency fund.
- Do NOT invest all your hard-earned cash in just one business. If possible, invest in two or more simple and low-cost businesses in order to increase the chances to earn more.
- Never invest in something that you are not familiar with. Study the business fully before investing in it.
- Study your target customers, and do not blindly invest in a trend because you can never tell when the popularity of such market will die down.
- Lastly, do not be discouraged if it does not work out the first time, especially if the interest of your money is not that huge. Keep in mind that a lot of entrepreneurs and businessmen did not hit the jackpot the first time. It would take more than just luck to make your business boom.
Featured Image Credit: OFW Newsfeed