Updated: January 16, 2018
One of the biggest challenges of starting a business is coming up with a profitable idea. Most people would first look at what’s currently popular, and then innovate their own version of the business.
A lot of people, especially OFWs, choose franchising. They invest on the turn-key process, which business franchises offer to save time and energy. This makes it possible for them to run a business while still working abroad.
Lastly, there’s also been a rise on business crowdfunding. Just invest a small amount and own a portion of a business, which a crowdfunding company will build and manage. This has also been a popular choice for many overseas Filipino workers.
Let’s look at the classic Pinoy business: the sari-sari store.
Our family had one when I was a kid. And there are still a lot of sari-sari stores around. In our residence alone, there’s two that’s just a couple of minutes away.
Starting a sari-sari store — that’s a business idea. And it is a profitable venture.
Unfortunately these days, you can’t just put up a sari-sari store anywhere and expect to make money. But that shouldn’t discourage you from pursuing this idea.
The key is to define who your target market is. Learn what their problems are. And think of how your sari-sari store business can help solve those problems.
In other words, a sari-sari store is your foundational idea. But throw in technology and innovation, and you’ll have an evolved business that can be profitable in today’s times.
Business ideas that evolved from sari-sari stores
- Convenience stores — for people who need grocery items at 3am
- Filipino stores abroad — for OFWs who needs to buy Philippine-made products
- Online grocery delivery service — for people too busy to go to the supermarket
These are just a few businesses that came from the basic business idea of a sari-sari store. And these opportunities are also available through franchising, crowdfunding, and cooperatives.
2018 Business Trends and Technology
This year, instead of giving you a specific business idea. Let me share the emerging trends and technologies that will evolve current and classic businesses ideas.
By knowing these, you can take any business — be it a sari-sari store, restaurant, laundry shop, etc. — and evolve it into an innovative business.
Or use these technologies to develop better products, improve marketing strategies, and expand your customer reach.
Anything that’s being sold in real life, you can also sell online. Choose a niche and dominate that market.
Just ask yourself, what do people still buy in brick and mortar stores because there’s no one selling them online?
Moreover, straightfoward online stores are also evolving these days. Dropshipping businesses allow people to sell products without keeping inventory. And crossborder payment services have allowed people to sell their products globally.
We all leave digital footprints. And entrepreneurs can use these information to improve their marketing strategies. Notice how the ads you see on social media and websites are often related to what you recently searched for online?
Beyond using these information, there’s an emerging demand for anyone who can effectively process and analyze the raw data. Those in I.T. and digital marketing should consider this business idea.
Crowdsourcing comes in many forms. First, it can be used as a validation tool. Create an online survey and see if there’s a profitable market for your business idea.
Second, you can use it to raise funds for your business. Better known as crowdfunding, there’s now numerous online platforms that can help you get started with your venture with minimum cashout.
Lastly, you can use its power to build products. A lot of softwares today were built on open-source technology. And many websites leverage on user-generated content and the sharing economy to power their business.
Just take AirBnB as an example, its business won’t exist if people didn’t come and list their homes for short-term stay on their website.
INTERNET OF THINGS
The Internet is no longer the domain of computers and smartphones. Home appliances can now connect online. There’s also numerous wearable technology that can store, receive, and send information.
This connectivity opens up a whole world of innovation and possibilities for entrepreneurs.
And you don’t need to be that tech-savvy to be in this line of business. There’s a lot of app developers and engineers out there who could just be waiting for you to collaborate with on a new product idea.
AUTOMATION AND ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE
The 2010s ushered in the race for manufacturers to release self-driving cars that’s safe for use in public roads.
At present, only Level 3 (“eyes off” – no need to watch the road) automation has been achieved. Yes, there’s now a car, made by Audi, which allows the driver to watch a movie while driving.
And I’m confident that in a few years, a Level 4 (“mind off” – driver can sleep) car will be achieved.
A lot things are now being automated. And advances in artificial intelligence research is helping make it happen. Slowly, our lifestyle is changing, which means new business opportunities are also being created.
Look back a few years when mobile phones are just beginning to become a necessity. As smartphones began to change our lifestyle, the demand for sturdy phone cases and power banks emerged.
So ask yourself now, what problems will arise as more things become automated today? How can those problems be solved? How can I turn that solution into a business opportunity?
If there’s anything I’ve learned in more than a decade of being an entrepreneur, it’s that any business can be profitable if you can find and properly serve your market.
With advances in technology and how its slowly changing our lifestyle, traditional businesses can certainly adapt, innovate, and reinvent itself and be profitable.