About those business opportunities…

January 16th, 2012

Manila, Philippines

[Editor’s note: Tim Staermose is filling in for Simon today.]

Reaction to my article last week about the strong economic picture, and business opportunities I see all around me here on the ground in The Philippines was overwhelming.

Evidently there are some go-getters out there in this community who want to take action. Andthat’s great to know.

So, today I thought I’d share more specifics about a few of the ideas so that you can make a better judgment about whether there may be some opportunities for you, personally.

Simon and I talk a lot about “adding value.” And really, that’s what it’s all about. Whether in business, adding value for your customers, or as an employee, adding value for your employer, if you think in terms of how you can add value, you will be amply rewarded for taking action.

I’ve written before that there is a massive real estate boom under way here in Manila. New condominium projects are being sold off-plan to investors, both foreign and local (foreigners can own apartments so long as less than 40% of the units are in foreign hands).

This has bubble written all over it. Here’s what happens in a bubble–it bursts. Then the guys who are left without a chair when the music stops delude themselves into thinking they can just ‘wait it out.’ Which means they’ll turn to the local rental market and try to achieve a yield to offset carrying costs.

Consequently, there is going to be huge demand for property management services–finding a tenant, collecting rent, maintaining the property, ensuring that taxes and dues are paid, and even hiring out to short-term tourists.

I know of a few companies springing up in this niche, but they’re in the embryonic stage. A professionally organized outfit that can achieve scale and a strong online presence could quickly dominate the market. Simon has mentioned before that a great model to copy already exists in Panama. Check it out and you’ll see.

For hungry real estate professionals, there is also ample room here in Manila for competent and knowledgeable buyers’ agents. The way the real estate business works here is that, in the new construction market, all of the brokers work for the developer. In the existing homes market, they work for the sellers. Buyers usually fend for themselves.

Setting up a small consulting firm that provides high quality, unbiased advice for buyers would be another excellent opportunity that is under represented at the moment.

Another idea I have is for a web-based service business in the Philippines. I can’t be too specific in this forum as I’m actually planning to get this one up and running. However I am looking for an IT professional who can design and build a custom, rigidly secure data warehousing platform.

If you have this kind of experience and are interested in hearing more, please fill out this form to let me know.