[2021 Ideas] Small Business Ideas You Can Start in the Philippines

By - Angela
05/28/21 09:00 AM
[2021 Ideas] Small Business Ideas You Can Start in the Philippines

It's no secret that the Philippines is a great place to start and run your own small business. Yes, even if we're still struggling to go through the pandemic, now is the right time to start a small business. Not only will it help you with extra income, but it will help our country's economy too! That's why we've compiled this list of 20+ small business ideas you can start today with minimal capital needed.

Why Now is the Right Time to Start a Small Business

Last year, we talked about how the start of the pandemic was the perfect time to start a business. It hasn't changed today. Many industries are facing challenges, and some businesses might fail; but many businesses can also start and fill in the gaps.

For example, Disney started in 1929 when the Great Depression in the US started. Netflix started in 1997 as a DVD rental by mail, but when the dot com bubble burst in 2000, they changed to what they are now today.

Here in the Philippines, starting a small business can also be done with minimal startup capital, more opportunities for women entrepreneurs, and less regulation than many other countries. There's our bayanihan spirit working for us, too. Now is the best time to work together to build up our own economy.

You Also Need the Right Mindset

It might be the right time, but having the right mindset is important when starting your own business.

First, it's important to know that you are responsible for the success and failure of your small business. You can't rely on others or wait around for someone else to take care of things - this is something that you have to do yourself.

Second, you need to put in the hard work it takes to succeed as a small business owner. Starting a business is difficult, in today’s reality or any other.  It's a lot of late nights and long hours, and you might not get much profit at the start. But staying determined and patient will help you get through the difficult days.

Lastly, one needs to have a clear head when it comes to business. Don't be too attached to an idea or product that you don't want to let go of it even if it's making you lose money. Try to remain objective about what you're selling, so that you can also see the disadvantages and how to improve on it.

And Finally, the Right Industry

Just blindly picking a business idea because it sounds good can be risky. Some industries are doing really well during and after this pandemic, but others are also struggling. While we think the struggling industries still have a chance to innovate and, if doe well, can be really profitable, you'll need a bright idea to succeed in it.

Growing industries can be a surer bet for your first small business. That's why the business ideas we'll be giving you in this article is not just a blind list where you can pick and choose. We'll be giving you some industry insights as well, so that you understand why these businesses are a good bet for your business. It can also help you come up with your strategy, too.

And so, let's get right on it!

The Massive List of Small Business Ideas You Can Start

Food & Beverage

The food & beverage industry has seen good growth in 2020
The food & beverage industry has seen good growth in 2020
The food & beverage industry has seen massive shake-ups during this pandemic. Dine-in restaurants have been closing everywhere. Many restaurants have adopted the food delivery model to varying degrees of success. Many meal plan businesses and homebased cooking businesses have flourished, too.

Food is a basic necessity and it's still that way today. Filipinos are more health-conscious than ever these days. Food will always be a good bet: it's the execution that matters.

Here are some interesting food business ideas to get your brain started.

  • Delivered meal services - you can tell people about your meal plan ahead of time, and get them to put their orders in before you start cooking in batches.
  • Frozen food - if you enjoy cooking or baking in large batches, freeze extra servings in packs and sell these to your local community so they can reheat and eat at their own convenience.
  • DIY meal kits - if you have a great recipe, DIY meal kits have seen a lot of popularity recently. You can inspire budding cooks and make it easier for many to cook dishes without having to buy their own ingredients.
  • How to bake/cook tutorial videos - you'd think that after a year of the pandemic, everyone knows how to cook now. But while others want to learn how to cook, others just want an easy how-to guide for their everyday cooking, too. You can earn money from advertising either on Youtube directly or partnering with businesses.
  • Sell snacks - people who are more likely to cook their own meals will still enjoy having snacks from elsewhere. Think about making and packing up snack food for people and delivering it to them: cookies, muffins, even street food.
  • Creating meal plans for others - people are into staying healthy even now, so if you know how to make meal plans for healthy living, you can do that for others, too.
  • Selling healthy food brands - even if you're not good at cooking or baking, if you know of amazing and healthy food brands, you might be able to resell them online. You can even start your own food brand doing purely delivery.

Ecommerce and Online Selling

Ecommerce and online selling can be highly profitable
Ecommerce and online selling can be highly profitable
Everyone is doing online shopping these days. Whether it's an online marketplace, on Facebook, or on other shopfront websites, people are going online to get everything from their groceries to their toys and gifts.

It's also very easy to start these days, with the help of online marketplaces allowing you to reach many people at once at the expense of fees on top of every purchase. You can even just sell on Facebook and use Messenger and Marketplace to reach your customers.

Here in the Philippines, the 2021 Digital Report shows that the largest growth during the last year has been in Food & Personal care, Furniture & Appliances, and Toys, DIY & Hobbies categories.
Many ecommerce categories grew last year, except travel. Source: datareportal.com
Many ecommerce categories grew last year, except travel. Source: datareportal.com
That looks to be the same trend this year, with plenty of Facebook Groups on related topics flourishing and seeing a lot of people posting, commenting, and otherwise engaging with other people and online shops.

If you want to start selling online from scratch, try to focus on one niche in the above categories, namely:

  • Food & Personal Care - $483.5M total spend in 2020
  • Toys, DIY, & Hobbies - $609.1M total spend in 2020
  • Furniture & Appliances - $845M total spend in 2020
  • Electronics & Physical Media - $955.4M total spend in 2020

While there has been $3.01B total spend in Travel, Mobility, & Accommodation last year, note that this category has seen negative growth, and everywhere in the Philippines the tourism industry and related businesses have seen massive hits. This number should go back up once the Philippines has herd immunity, but it won't be soon.
Start your own small business in one of these ecommerce categories. Source: datareportal.com
Start your own small business in one of these ecommerce categories. Source: datareportal.com
If an online shop is not exactly what you would like to get into, there are also plenty of other businesses that are related to this boom. You can still ride the ecommerce wave even without an online shop yourself. This can be done by putting up a business supporting that wave, with your target customers being fellow small business owners who run an online shop.

Take a look at these possible ecommerce-related business ideas:

  • Packaging supplies and services - you can supply other businesses instead when it comes to boxes and packaging materials, which businesses use a lot of now that online deliveries are up.
  • Be an errand person/delivery person - online deliveries are everywhere these days. You can support your local community by handling deliveries for multiple people, or even extending that service to other businesses by picking up their items in warehouses, too.
  • Wholesale importing - if you've got an eye for what others can sell, but don't want to sell direct to consumers, you can import your own products directly and sell wholesale to other fellow small businesses
  • Branding and marketing services - plenty of starting small businesses mean the need for great branding and marketing is even more important. If you've got some skills here, you can be an asset to other businesses.


You can start a small business centered on self learning and education
You can start a small business centered on self learning and education
Last year, the focus on education and training has been high. With many people staying at home, everyone--adults and children alike--have been looking for ways to keep up with learning through the pandemic.

Online tutorials and classes have been on the rise. Schools have transitioned to online instruction for their curriculum. Many households have turned to homeschool learning to make sure their children are safe through the crisis as well.

Places online where people can take courses and get certificates have been popular through the pandemic and until now. People have used services like Coursera to take classes from science, productivity, and other certificate courses.

You can also participate in this boom by offering related services, such as:

  • Home-based learning guides and supplies - these are currently popular for homeschooling parents and kids.
  • Teaching the English language online - this has always been a great option for earning money online even before the pandemic.
  • Online tutoring - schools are taking their curriculum online, and tutors can do the same. Teach children anything from math to music and get paid.
  • Creating an online course - are you into a specific hobby or craft that you'd love to share with others? If you create an online course, other people may be glad to pay you to have access to it.
  • Video tutorials and content - you can also put up your knowledge online on video format and teach others how to do things, from plumbing to personal finance, and get paid via ad revenue.

Health & Wellness

Health and wellness awareness is on the rise and can be a good niche for your small business
Health and wellness awareness is on the rise and can be a good niche for your small business
Health is an important aspect of our lives, especially today. The pandemic has made everyone more aware of our mortality, and the importance of staying healthy and maintaining our fitness level.

This is nothing new. Health and wellness is a trend that has steadily been gaining more attention in recent years. Many of us also have more choices in what we buy and consume now than even just five years ago, and there are even more products becoming available every day. The internet has also been a big help in making us consumers more aware of what's good for our health.

More than physical health is the added focus on emotional and mental well-being. While this is a big movement in the west, the Philippines has also seen more acceptance and awareness of mental and emotional health issues. More support is given to people suffering from mental and emotional disabilities.

While the pandemic brings about its own challenges in making health services and products available to everyone, the heightened awareness makes it a great candidate if you're looking to start a small business. Whether you're a health professional or someone who's just interested in the industry, there are many possibilities for you to choose from.

If a new business in this industry is interesting for you, take a look at these suggestions:

  • Personal training - you can provide instructions online and help people focus on staying fit even through the lockdown.
  • Meal and nutrition plans - if you're good at helping people with what they should eat, this can be a great service for people who are cooking more at home. Or you can provide your own meal plan service -- take a look at our food & beverage industry suggestions above!
  • Online yoga instructor - while studios are closed, you can still help people deal with the stresses of the current situation online. Provide private classes or put up sessions online for some ad revenue.
  • Online fitness classes - with gyms closed, people have been turning online to get their gym class fix on any variety of fitness-related activities. Online classes/sessions on dancing, aerobics, cycling, and the like have been popular.
  • Online counselling services - if you are a practitioner, transition your services online so you can still provide important services to your patients.
  • Cleaning services and supplies - clean environments are important for maintaining one's own health, and this industry is seeing growth due to the current pandemic.
  • Health and wellness subscription box - no matter the season, health and wellness is always important. You can start a subscription box to deliver your customers' health needs regularly without them having to worry about doing a grocery run.
  • A blog or channel mental and emotional health - staying mentally and emotionally healthy during this long pandemic is important. This can have an audience as well, and you can get income through ad revenues.

Home & Gardening

The home and gardening industry has seen significant growth in 2020
The home and gardening industry has seen significant growth in 2020
Just two years ago, home and gardening has mostly been the relegated to our mothers and titas. However, with the start of the lockdowns last year, this has become one of the biggest industries to receive a spotlight.

This is not surprising, since majority of us are staying in our homes most of the time in order to stay safe. Because of this, many of us have taken to developing our own small garden in order to get some fresh air and a sense of accomplishment. Landed houses and condominium unit dwellers alike have been focused on these small paradise of green in their homes.

Home improvement is also a big thing, with popular and fully engaged Facebook groups and communities building up around it. And the internet has also been feeding everyone's need for instant gratification, with shoppers looking for the best deals online to beautify their own houses and make home life more beautiful and restful.

People are also looking towards the hyperlocal marketplace for their household needs as well, from maintaining house plants, cleaning and maintenance services, and renovation help. Demand for home office related furniture is high, but even decor and home organization products are on the rise.

We've got some suggestions on what home and gardening-related small business you can try:

  • Cleaning business - with homes so much more in use, a simple sweeping sometimes isn't enough. You just need some energy and basic supplies to get started. Make sure you stay healthy and safe when cleaning other people's homes, however!
  • Selling plants - this can be a good business for now, when people are always staying inside their homes. You can focus on seeds or potted plants and go from there.
  • Flower arrangements - you can opt for either fresh or dried flowers, which are very popular now to beautify one's home.
  • Gardening services - you can also offer gardening services to other people who have the space to grow their own but don't have the know-how or the time to commit to it
  • Green nursery - you can be the source for both homeowners and even other small businesses alike by starting your own green nursery
  • Interior design - if you’ve got an eye for space and design, you can help others design a beautiful and functional home to help them get more out of every day
  • Blog or channel on home organization, DIY, etc - starting a blog on home organization, DIY, and/or gardening can be a good topic to get some advertising money while people are interested in this topic.
  • Wood furniture - big on-site projects may be risky, but if you're a carpenter or woodworker, you can focus on projects that focus on home organization and decor since people are currently more interested in those.
  • Laundry business - these are useful especially in cities since space is at a premium and not everyone has a washing machine. You can pickup and delivery laundry or open a DIY laundromat
  • Online course or lessons on gardening - some people just don't know how to start, but they would love to become plantitas and plantitos. Help them with an online course or lesson on gardening
  • Hydroponics - if you know how, you can teach people as well as supply what they need to start their own hydroponic garden, so that they have access to fresh vegetables at home
  • Natural and environment-friendly cleaning products - saving the earth, keeping the environment clean, and earning some money all in one business can be a great niche
  • Home decor and crafts - if you're looking for ideas on what to make for other people, crafts that can beautify the home can be popular nowadays, such as doilies, quilts, pictures, and the like.

Content & Media

Content, media, and design services can be a great business idea
Content, media, and design services can be a great business idea
Content is king, always but even more now, when everyone's online and looking for something to do and while away the time. This makes it a great time to start a content or media business of your own.

This is a great time for both kinds of content professionals: you can make your mark on the world as an expert in your field (and get leads from doing that), or you can help others weather the pandemic and stay relevant by providing them content they can share with others. Many businesses nowdays need help in reaching an online audience and you can help with that.

If you're interested in started a content business, here are some ideas to spark your imagination:

  • A blog or channel - if you've got some niche knowledge and hobbies, this can be a great time to put down in writing or video what you know and find others who are also interested in the same. If you can build an audience, you can get some advertising money later on.
  • E-learning - this is a new industry but you can focus on giving lessons for subjects like English grammar or Excel spreadsheets or even just teahcing people how to do everyday things
  • Become an influencer - influencers get a lot of bad rep these days, but if you've got a magnetic personality and stay original, you can take advantage of high consumption nowadays by starting a channel or instagram
  • Start a podcast - even camera-shy people can take advantage of high consumption these days by starting a podcast of their own and inviting some interesting guests
  • Social media manager - if you're social media savvy, or a marketer looking for a side business, you can help other businesses increase their online presence and get paid for it
  • Content writer - writing articles and marketing for blogs and businesses can help them with their online presence and get you some side money too
  • Translator - if you're fluent in multiple languages, you can translate important documents and even books for a fee
  • Video editor - with everyone interested in setting up video content and channels, you can help them perfect their video so that it matches their personality and attract even more people
  • Stock photography - many businesses and content professionals need stock photography to spice up their content. If you've got a camera, give it a try
  • Product photography - with ecommerce booming, many businesses need professional photography to attract customers
  • Web design - with many businesses moving online because of the pandemic, you can help them put their best foot forward with some great design services.

Specialized Services

Specialized services will always see steady demand and can be a stable income-earner
Specialized services will always see steady demand and can be a stable income-earner
Specialized services will always be needed, even if they aren't seeing significant and increased demand due to the lockdown. That's because the demand for them has always been constant.

Small businesses will always need help from accountants. Infrastructure projects will always need engineers and architects. There will always be demand for developers and consultants in many industries.

While the challenge for professionals like these during this lockdown is maintaining stable jobs when companies may be looking at downsizing, freelancing is one way to remain afloat. While the market has become larger and companies have more options to choose from, there are also new businesses coming on that will need help, too.

If you've got some specialized knowledge and need to pivot to a freelancing career, start looking in your local community for what might need your expertise. Perhaps you can refurbish old electronics and help people save a little. Or that new business might need a capable photographer to help them.

Facebook groups and marketplace can also be a great source of leads for jobs. Join groups related to your expertise and be active. Other people may see your posts and can tap you later on when they need help, too.

Final Thoughts

The world economy is on the way to recovery. The Philippines will soon be recovering too, especially with next year being an election year. We expect that the next few years would have more opportunities for small businesses and jobs than ever before.

But today may very well be the best time for you to start your small business. If you leave your mark on your customers, they can grow into loyal customers. If you take care of them and stay available to them when they need you, they will stay with your for longer and you'll get more orders from them, too.

So pick one of the ideas above, and get started now.

If you need help getting your small business idea up and running quickly with the help of Facebook, Messenger, and chatbots, get in touch with us and we'll help you out!