10 Business Ideas to Explore and Venture Amidst The Pandemic

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The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Philippine businesses is tremendous. The hardest hit is micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs).


At the height of the forced lockdown, around 70% of MSMEs had no choice but to close down, some for good. The majority reported zero income, while over half had to lay off employees. The country's unemployment rate skyrocketed and reached a record high in April. This affected the population's spending power and drastically changed their buying habits. People had to stay indoors to follow health and safety protocols. Consumers now started to rethink their spending habits. What was worth spending on, what they can skip on, and what they cannot live without?


Several months into the pandemic, Filipino entrepreneurs have found ways to survive and thrive in the face of an unprecedented crisis. They took advantage of the convenience offered by the flourishing online marketplace. More than 73,000 online businesses registered with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) between March and August, showing a shift in how Filipinos do business. While many of these were born out of pure necessity, most of them have turned into full-time businesses. Their owners have found ways to confidently tap into the shifting behaviors and priorities of the consumers.


Whether you're a budding entrepreneur looking for a viable business option or an established business owner looking to pivot your existing one, here are some consistently high demand products and services to take inspiration from.


1. Food-related items


The demand for cooking and baking related items surged at the start of the lockdown. With many of their favorite restaurants and cafes closed, people longed for variety in their meals. So what did they do? They experimented in the kitchen. While this was therapy or a hobby for some, many Filipinos saw it as a way to make extra income. Social media became the primary means for selling. As their businesses grew, so did their cooking and baking needs. They started to invest in bread makers, food mixers, and better ovens to keep up with the demand.


2. Personalized face masks and face shield


Filipinos are creative and resourceful. When face masks became scarce in the market, they made their own. Commercial face masks are now easy to get but personalized face masks are still all the rage. More people opt to get face masks that reflect their style as it has become an essential part of our daily new normal.


3. Alcohol, tissues, and other disinfecting materials


Disinfecting at home and on the go is a must, so personal cleaning items such as alcohols, tissues, and wipes will now remain a must-have in everyone’s daily essentials.


4. Virtual workout classes


After months of being stuck at home, our physical and mental health has taken quite a hit. Fitness experts have found ways to use online meeting platforms to cater to their current clients—and getting new ones as well. Extremely busy people may continue to use online fitness sessions post-pandemic for convenience.


5. Errands and delivery services


Limited mobility led the way for enterprising Filipinos to offer "pasabuy" services–buying essentials for people who cannot go out. This is especially helpful for senior citizens or immunocompromised. Such services may prove their relevance post-pandemic as it is a more convenient and efficient way to get essential goods.


6. Pet services


Because veterinarians and pet groomers couldn’t accommodate pets and their owners into their clinics for health and safety reasons, why not go door to door instead? It is a godsend for fur parents worried about their babies’ health and grooming needs during the pandemic. 


7. Work from home tools and equipment


As office-based workers began to work from home, many realized how inadequate their home office setup was. The demand for office tools and equipment grew and will continue to be so as more offices apply flexible work arrangements(See Flexible Co-working Space Plan by The Company). Students who are on distance learning also need equipment. Ergonomic chairs, desks, shelves, and organizers are popular choices. Investing in heavy-duty laptops, desktop computers, and tablets are also high in demand.


8. Online mental health counseling


Everyone’s mental health has taken quite a dip in this pandemic. Some haven’t seen their friends and loved ones in person for months. Some are front-liners who report for duty while worrying about the virus. Counselors have offered their services online to address the need for mental health help.


9. Home gardening


Being confined at home has increased the desire to be in nature and the great outdoors. This yearning has given birth to new plant enthusiasts who fondly call themselves “plantitos and plantitas.” What was initially thought to be a passing trend showed no signs of slowing down as the house plants’ grew. Many discovered that plants have healing and calming effects. People are also getting into home farming by planting their veggies and ensuring food security.


10. Loungewear


Wearing comfy t-shirts while working from home was fun for a while, but the novelty got old especially for fashionistas who miss the fun of dressing up. Stylish loungewear that can be worn during Zoom meetings and when relaxing on the couch became in demand. Cute, Instagrammable pajamas are also fun investments for many. These became necessary items for fashion lovers who express themselves through their clothes.


These are just some of the most common and best-selling products and services that boomed this lockdown. There are more ideas for businesses out there and should you go fulltime, remember to always make sure that you have secured all the necessary permits, and a suitable office location. Check out The Company's startup friendly office space option for a more cost-effective initial setup. Observe people and listen to their needs. Consumption habits may have changed, but business owners can think of ways on how to address them. Pinoy consumers not only turn online to shop, but they also read reviews and do research before committing. It's more important than ever for businesses to know digital marketing to get the products and services out there and stand out.


Free online design tools such as Canva for Negosyo allow you to build your marketing collaterals and branding kits for free. It also features helpful tips on maximizing social media engagement as the primary means of marketing. It can also connect you with like-minded entrepreneurs and learn from one another how to navigate the post-pandemic business landscape.


It truly is challenging to be an entrepreneur during this time of crisis. But as many of our fellow Filipinos have shown, there’s room to thrive in such a world. So if you’re a budding entrepreneur, treat this pandemic as an opportunity to see what you’re capable of and how you can be of service to your community.


MJ Tiu is a digital marketing specialist at Canva and an entrepreneur by heart. He likes business, loves the NBA and also a passionate foodie. With his trusty phone camera, he makes sure to take great photos of the things he creates or where he eats. Check out more of his content is IG account @snackshot_ph

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