Business in the Philippines has to become more realistic rather than just stay like a long-reigning dream in the minds of many Filipinos. Most of us wish that someday we could have our own business or enterprise that gives us passive income, makes us able to balance work and life, give us the opportunity to serve customers, and even help our community. But most of us who dream of having a business remain dreamers. Only few become diligent and persistent workers in a goal to realize their plans that once were only dreams.
The Philippines is a rich country in terms of natural resources and human resources. However, we are poor in resourcefulness. Of course there are some Filipinos who are resourceful and very creative. They have made a great plan, execute their plan persistently, and successfully built their thriving companies. Some of them became famous entrepreneurs in the Philippines who have built great companies from scratch.
The capital problem
The problem with most Filipinos is that they believe that starting a business requires a large amount of money or capital. With that principle in mind, many Filipinos are focusing on earning and saving big amount of cash before they start entering into the world of business and entrepreneurship.
Because of their goal to gain money for their business capital, they stay too long on employment, trying to save their salary for that goal. Some of us even wait for our retirement benefits fee before attempting our first startup. Other Filipinos work abroad to find their luck of earning that business-capital-to-be in a faster way, considering that salary rates abroad are higher than in our country. But wait… are all businesses require large amount of capital?
There are businesses you can start with a small capital. There are also business ideas you can start at home or you can start part-time. There are even online business ideas you can work almost everywhere with an Internet connection. Thus, Filipinos should bear in mind that having their own business should not only be an ultimate goal, becoming a business person or an entrepreneur can really be one’s first goal.
“Having a successful business should not only be an ultimate goal, but it can also be our first goal.”
Dealing with the government
Another thing that is hindering Filipinos to start a business is the complexity of registration, regulation and taxation systems in the Philippines. This is also the reason why many Filipinos, who don’t have a background in business processing, accounting and taxation, and who don’t have the money to hire professionals to do those tasks for them, are discouraged to start their business, whether small or big.
On January 27, 2012, in an effort to speed up business registration as short as 30 minutes and to realize its commitment to reduce red tape and corruption in the government offices, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) launched the Philippine Business Registry (PBR). It allows existing and new entrepreneurs to register their businesses without going physically from one government agency to another to fill our and submit individual forms required to operate a business.
The PBR links electronically various agencies including the DTI, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), Home Development Mutual Fund (Pag-IBIG), Philippine Health and Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth), and Social Security System (SSS). For more informatio, please visit PBR website here.
PBR promotes a speedy business registration in the country, kudos to DTI. However, registration is only a process that gives birth to a business. It only gives businesses a license to operate. There are still many other factors that are burdening Filipinos when it comes to business operation. One of them is the taxation system in our country.
Tax in the Philippines is almost inevitable for small business owners and entrepreneurs. Small businesses may be subjected to both income tax and business taxes. Because of business taxes, like Value Added Tax (VAT) and Percentage tax, which require taxpayers to pay taxes based on their gross receipts, a business owner might be required to pay taxes whether his business is profiting or losing. For example, if you are required to pay percentage tax, you will be required to pay a percent of your gross revenue whether you have a net income or a net loss.
Our government also needs to take a look, and more importantly, take actions on other problems affecting entrepreneurship in the country, such as lack of access on business education and skills training, lack of financial aid for small entrepreneurs, and high power rates that are devastating not only business people, but also every household in the country.
“Our government has to help small business owners and entrepreneurs in their journey to having successful and sustainable business.”
Against all odds
Obviously, we have several problems and challenges to face if we want to start our business in the Philippines. But should we be discouraged to pursue our dreams? Should we be inactive for long waiting for our government to help us and relying on other people to push us on our pursuit to entrepreneurial and financial success?
We may have freed ourselves from the conquest of the Spanish, Japanese and the Americans. However, most of us have not yet earned independence when it comes to doing what we really want. Most of us are still under the influence of poverty… and why? It’s because we are still letting laziness, procrastination, lack of self-reliance, and other wicked qualities conquer us.
It’s time to free ourselves once again, not from the foreign invaders, but from our own worst enemies – ourselves. Poverty has been conquering us for many years. It’s time that heroes rise again. This time, everyone has to be their own hero. Everyone has to conquer and free themselves from their own bad principles, attitudes and habits.
Now is the time to think for our country’s progress by developing ourselves. Entrepreneurship has its own risks. But Filipinos have to do their best to overcome those risks. We have to break the tradition of relying our future to other people or to our current government. Remember, that we are also part of the government.
For parents or future parents, we have to think of not only giving our children diplomas of education. How about giving them shares of business ownership as a legacy instead of just focusing all our energy in making them graduates from any school or university? Remember that college is not an assurance of their bright future. Besides, there are people like Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates, who have not even completed their college, but were able to build successful business empires.
“We have to be our own hero. We need to help our government to achieve economic progress by starting that progress within ourselves.”
Philippine businesses have to boom. But in order for that to happen, we need Filipinos who have the courage like what our heroes in the past have shown. We need to have the courage on leaving our comfort zone. We have to learn how to sacrifice our self-interest and even sacrifice the interest of our family or a small number of people. It’s hard, yes it’s hard. But remember that when our nation grows, we all grow, including you, your family, and your next generation. On the other hand, if our nation fails, we all fail, including your great great grandchildren.
Thus, we must do our best to work for our legacy now. We have to start building our business even in the midst of corruption and bad leadership in our government. We have to provide more jobs and solve the unemployment problem in the country. We have to build a legacy for our next generation. We have to win our war against poverty. Remember what Winston Churchill said… “Wars are not won by evacuations.” Therefore, we have to face all the challenges now. Let’s fight until we achieve our freedom – the one we call financial freedom.