The lockdown imposed for the most part of 2020 to control the spread of the new coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) gave rise to home-based entrepreneurs baking, cooking, sewing and selling just about anything online and within their communities.
Locked down in homes,furloughed from work or suddenly jobless, some entrepreneurial Pinoys turned their hobbies or side hustles into full-blown business for extra cash. Demand, after all, was there within their communities as access to many goods was limited especially early into the quarantines.
Less than a year later with COVID still very much a threat, it begs the question as to whether thehyper local trend and the home-preneurial spirit set off by the pandemic are still very much around.
Sherill Quintana, president of the Philippine Franchise Association described the emergence of small businesses as a knee-jerk response to a temporary necessity brought by the pandemic.
Quintana said these businesses thrived with assured clientele within their communities, adding that the hyper local trend will stay, at least for the next three years especially with limitations on mobility and the phase drollout of the vaccine.
She said buying local also gives a sense of patriotism and community spirit among Filipinos.
Quintana, however, advises those who have started their businesses from their kitchens orhome offices to assess if they can take their ventures for the long haul.
The reality, Quintana said, is that as the economy opens up, more and more people will step out to shop at the malls and eat in restaurants. The gap once filled by these small home-based businesses could suddenly disappear with many of their usual customers going back to their favorite brands.
Quintana stresses the importance of quality and consistency of the product and/or service as the foundation of any business.
“From there, you build the brand value of your product or service that your customers will continue to patronize,” Quintana said.
But how does one really know if the business is ready to take off?
Quintana said one begins to take the business seriously when knowingly or unknowingly he has set up a system — from documentation, manpower deployment, production, up to delivery to customer — that makes daily operation move in a very methodical manner.
According to Quintana, the first big step taken by small businesses going mainstream is hire people, be they relatives or neighbors.Once he builds an organization, he anticipates the possibility of serving more customers than when he was running the business on his own, or with just a handful of helpers around.
While everyone thinks food is a sure ball business, Quintana said there are opportunities built to flourish such as: fresh produce from farms, ready-to-eat meals and healthy food produced in cloud or dark kitchens for delivery and takeout; wellness products like vitamins and health supplements are a must; beauty products as affordable luxury; kits for hobbies like gardening and do-it-yourself projects to cope with boredom; gadgets to make work- and study- at home more efficient. She also cited new trends in services such as: mobile clinics and non-hospital based clinics; housekeeping; pet grooming; and home schooling.
In another interview Quintana said that the current challenges should be an opportunity for Filipino brands to succeed thereby contributing to the overall economic picture. “In all crises, there’s an opportunity that entrepreneurs shouldn’t miss. In our current situation, the opportunity is for the Filipino brands to shine. When Filipino entrepreneurs level up from underground to mainstream, they will contribute more to our economy,” she adds.