[PODCAST] Minding Your Business Episode 3: Favorite Mistakes

In today’s episode, Danella and Cristina shares about the favorite mistakes that usually occurs when it comes to dealing with the government and all the learnings we can get from them.

In our everyday lives, there are a lot of mistakes committed when it comes to registering your business. It ranges from simple things, from not following the correct registration process to forgetting to renew your taxes. Either way, it can always give you a headache in the long run.

As an example, there was one company who decided to renovate their space but was not able to get proper building permits for it. Because the company was not able to get this permit, they were forced to do backtracking and produced the architectural plans of the space right away. They needed to pay professionals for the whole thing, just to get their business permits. Eventually, they were able to get their business permits after 6 months.

Happy also advised that according to the Anti-Red Tape Act, you only need 5 signatures and if you are asked to complete 10 signatures, that is already against the law. Government offices should not give excuses when it comes to this and entrepreneurs should know that there should be someone who will act as a substitute for the missing person.

Under the Table Transaction

There is also another story where they obtained their Mayor’s permit illegally so when it’s time to renew their permit, they’re permit does not exist in the system. Even though they were able to keep their books just like all other businesses, they are still operating illegally because of their permit is not authentic.

That is why entrepreneurs should know the process of registering to protect them in the long run. They should transact to people with IDs on them since government employees are always required to wear their ID for identification.

Fixers

When it comes to Anti-Red Tape Act, there was also this student who were about to graduate and part of their requirement was to register themselves as professional graphic designers so that they can obtain their own ORs. All her classmates got their own ORs by paying Php 5,000.00.

When she did it, she was asked to pay Php 10,000.00, double the usual amount. She was hesitant to pay, saying that all her classmates paid Php 5,000.00 only. Eventually, she asked the advice of the lawyer. The lawyer said that it is illegal for government employees to charge more than the required amount. In the end, she confronted the government employee handling her transaction and confronted that it is against the law. The employee immediately issued her an OR with the right amount.

Paying Taxes and Filing Tax Returns

Another interesting story, there was this client where she owns a business. However, through the years, she kind of forgot the business. After 10 years, she discovered that they were not able to pay the taxes. She ended up paying the penalties incurred for 10 years which amounted to Php 100,000.00.

By looking at that scenario, one single transaction can really affect the life of an individual. Imagine the amount of money you will be paying because you just missed to file for your taxes.

We had an interesting inquiry from a client who has been registered since January 2017 but she was not able to have an accounting or bookkeeping setup. Knowing that the April tax season is approaching, they will have to look for ways to file their taxes. Since they were not able to keep any record when it comes to their finances, it will be hard for them to comply with the law. Although technically, they are not obliged to file one this April 2017 because they started in January 2017, the fact that they haven’t kept a single record of their finances can lead to serious problems.

All of these stories points to only one thing, being responsible for your business. If you’re getting into a business don’t bury your head in the sand and ignore the issues because they will haunt you, they will blow open your face. It is the sole responsibility of the owner to do all of these things to ensure that they follow the rules of the country. In setting up a business, you should always know how to deal with the necessary processes like bookkeeping and accounting, most importantly, paying up your taxes. If you are not familiar with what to do, just ask, there is no harm in asking.

How Your Business Can Stand out Among Filipinos This Christmas

Filipinos’ shopping habits during the holiday season are quite unique. Even as early as September, people are already making their gift or wish lists. Come October to November, shoppers start flocking to stores and bazaars a little earlier than the rest to buy their stuff and presents for family and friends, in the hopes of avoiding the Christmas rush. By December, everyone goes full blast in their preparation for the Yuletide.

Now is the perfect time to promote and sell your brand to the Filipino market, which is very much in a buying mood right at this moment. The demand for quality and affordable products and services is at its peak, and if you could step up your game in this department, you’re bound to get ahead of the competition and attract more buying customers than everyone else.

As you gear up your business in time for the holidays, keep in mind the following tips:

Gear Up Your Business for the Holiday Season

1. Model Good Customer Service

The holiday frenzy could drain your energy and test your patience, with just too many customers to serve and extra hours to put in at work. Plus, administrative tasks such as renewal of business permits for the incoming year should not be overlooked.

Remind yourself and your staff not to let all the pressure get the better of you. Stay focused on the job and treat your customers with respect, professionalism, and cheerfulness. People will appreciate your brand of customer service especially when they know you’re going out of your way to give them a royal treatment, so to speak. As one store chain says, you should show that you’re always “happy to serve.”

2. Stock up on Your Supplies

Nothing can be so frustrating for customers than to come to you for business and be told that the goods are not available. Some customers know better and check with their favorite stores if stocks are available prior to their visit, but you will still encounter a lot of shoppers who will just walk into your store. So imagine how disappointed they will be if you’re unable to deliver what they came for.

Keep your supplies and stocks in check, and make advance arrangements with your suppliers well ahead of the busy season.

3. Offer Christmas Bundle Sales

Filipinos love looking for the best deals around. Bundled packages are very appealing as they represent added value to what customers are paying for. Just make sure your bundle offerings will actually find favor with customers, and not just to get rid of stocks from your inventory.

If your business is service-oriented, you may still create bundled packages or offer discounted rates for your services. The main takeaway here is to help your customers save up on their purchases.

4. Sell Your Merchandise Online

Filipinos are doing more online shopping nowadays. They have become receptive to this trend mainly because of the convenience that e-commerce brings to the table. All it takes is a search on the web, and voila, hundreds to thousands of choices pop up before them, and with a few clicks, their shopping is completed.

If you want to capture this market of online shoppers, you need to go the extra mile of actually helping customers with so much more than aggressively hawking your wares to them. Perhaps you could offer a free consultation, free shipping, or essential freebies—any related information or service that would complement what your customers are looking for.

5. Spread the Cheer and Love of the Season

Christmas is a very special occasion for everyone. Whatever holiday surprises you have in store for your customers, make sure they genuinely convey the message of love and joy of Christmas.

Be generous in rewarding your loyal customers with small tokens to show your appreciation for their business. After all, Christmas is where the smallest gesture of goodwill can go a long, long way.

So, what are you waiting for? As the holidays are just a few days away, don’t forget to grab this opportunity and make your business stand out this season. Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas!

 

Request for a Free Consultation

 

How to Protect Your Business Brand in the Philippines

Adobo Putoshop, Starbuko, and Caintacky Fried Chicken. Sounds familiar? No, this is not a joke. These are actually the real business names of small establishments in the Philippines who ride on the name and fame of the world’s most recognizable brands.

Filipinos are fun and creative people. The pun or spin in the localized business names are clearly intended, and many consumers take the irony quite enjoyable. Business owners ride on the viral quality. It’s not just fun and games anymore. It’s business.

And if you’re the owners of the big brands often ripped off in the Philippines, these pun-y businesses could be a problem because they can hurt your brand identity. This is not limited to the big boys as well. Many also hitch a ride on the fame of locally grown brands.

So, what do you do? Here are ten ways to protect your business brand in the Philippines.

How to Protect Business Brand

1. Make Sure Your Business Papers Are in Order

If you’re starting a business in the Philippines, you have to be registered with the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR). A BIR online registration is one of the first steps to ensure that your business is protected by the laws of the country

2. Trademark Your Business

Getting a trademark registration in the Philippines will ensure that your business concept cannot be duplicated and replicated. It certifies that your idea is original and that your concept is patented.

A trademark registration gives you the right to sue anyone who copies your concept. So, you need to file your registration at the Bureau of Trademarks of the Intellectual Property Office.

3. Be Aware of Intellectual Property (IP) Infringement

In the Philippines, copying a famous logo and localizing it has become such a common occurrence. For instance, you can buy T-shirts featuring a parody of famous brands and its logo.

Fitness First has a version called “Fatness First,” and Heineken Lager Beer has a parody shirt as “Heinakuh.” These so-called artistic shirts sell for as much as Php600 per piece. Given the Filipino’s love for fun and creativity, these businesses can rake in a lot by riding on the famous brand names.

It’s important to remember that everything you created in mind for your own business is considered a form of IP so you have to protect it. Unfortunately, in some countries, the pun is regarded as a exclusion to the protection of the trademark. But of course, it remains that these parody apparel can still get themselves sued, issued a fine, or forced to show that the pun is not meant to confuse consumers.

4. Be Your Own Brand Police

If you discover someone using your trademarked logo with your consent or authorization, you can send him or her a “Take Down Notice.” This letter explains that, by law, they are required to remove any unauthorized use of logos from their products, services, servers, websites, and other relevant sites, even in social media and blogs.

5. Protect Your Home Turf

Sometimes, the problems can start with the people you employ and work with. Your contracts for your employees and vendors should include an IP protection clause stating that they cannot use your trademarked logo for any person or non-work purposes.

6. Explain Brand Protection in Your Employee Handbook

Brand protection begins at home, and you can empower your employees to become your guards. Include the relevant IP protection information in your employee handwork to ensure that employees know what to do if they come across a particular situation.

7. Hire Help

Hiring an intellectual property lawyer can assist you with the legal paperwork and consultation. You can also hire legal services if you find other establishments using your IP.

8. Use Google Alerts to Safeguard Your Brand

Set it up in such a way that you get alerts whenever your brand is mentioned online since many copyright and IP infringement go unnoticed and unresolved. Google Alerts can help you, well, stay alert.

9. Monitor Your Competitors

IP infringement is not just about the logo. Your concept can be copied too, as well as everything you create for your business. Therefore, it’s advisable to monitor your competitors too.

10. Think Global

Hiring a lawyer can help you maneuver the legal processes in protecting your intellectual property rights from copycats abroad. Don’t just handle the battles locally. Protect your brand as if you can go global anytime.

Be on Guard

Build your brand and customers will come. The same goes for your competitors. If you are not proactive in protecting your brand, these issues will not get addressed. We hope that these tips can help you in actively protecting your brand and business from predators who want a piece of your pie.

 

Request for a Free Consultation

 

6 Considerations Before Expanding Your Business in the Philippines

Nothing could make a business owner happier than knowing that the venture is turning out to be a success. Expanding the business is a good indicator that things are going well, and the future is looking bright. It might be one of the most exciting things you can embark on as a business owner, but before you open another branch, ask yourself the following questions:

Expanding Business in the Philippines

1. Do I See the Bigger Picture?

Excellent entrepreneurs know that planning is the key to success. Without a plan, your company could derail and fail.

Always think about the long-term effects of every business decision. The bigger picture serves as your roadmap that can help you evaluate the future of your business.

2. Am I Realistic?

Just because you can expand does not mean you should, especially if it will be at the cost of your current cash-flow.

Remember the saying don’t count your eggs before they hatch? You might be tempted to strike while the iron is hot, but pause for a second and ask yourself if this really is the next best logical step.

3. What Will Be My Business Structure?

One of the trickiest parts of owning a business is deciding how to run it. When you are expanding, potential investors and partners might come in. Take into consideration the kind of structure you see yourself expanding with. Will it be a sole proprietorship or corporation?

When you are deciding your business structure, take into consideration things like the degree of control you want to have over your business, the kind of organization, will you open it up to investors, and other legal requirements.

4. Should I Consult a Professional?

You might think a lot of the business concepts you need to learn about running a successful business can be found online. After all, we are in the digital age. While this may be true, management strategies are not one-size fits all.

What worked for someone else’s enterprise might not work for you, and you need to tailor-fit your tactics. Having an experienced professional onboard can help you avoid unnecessary mistakes.

5. Am I Aware of the New Legal Requirements and Tax Responsibilities?

Keep in mind that expanding your business may require you to register as another business entity. For example, to level-up from a BMBE (Barangay Micro-Business Enterprise) to an SME (Small Business Enterprise), you have to register as a sole proprietor which comes with a new set of requirements. If you want to expand your small business and build a branch, that comes with different conditions especially if you’re a foreign investor.

You need to make sure all legal requirements are in order. Have a checklist of all the documents you need to accomplish like a DTI registration or a business permit renewal.

6. Is Expanding the Right Choice?

Expanding might be a good thing, but doing it before you are ready can hurt your business. Every business goes through different stages before it matures. Create a business forecast and evaluate the potential of expansion.

In a nutshell, think about your business before exploring expansion opportunities. Use your passion as the driving force and only work in a system that is comfortable for you.

 

Request for a Free Consultation

How to Turn Your Freelancing Career into a Business

Freelancing is pretty much a buzz word in the United States, where there were 15.5 million Americans who were self-employed in May 2015 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The numbers increased approximately one million since May 2014.

In a related American study, researchers estimated that over 40 percent (roughly 60 million) of the U.S. workforce would be freelancers by the year 2020.

In the Philippines, the freelancing practice has pretty much caught on. In 2012, a Filipina freelancer earned PHP1.5 million after completing about 35 writing and translating jobs through Elance, an online freelance platform.

Are you a freelancer in the Philippines? Download this free eBook

If you’re a freelancer, you can go even further and turn your freelancing gigs into a business by going through a Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) registration.

Freelancing Career Turn Into a Business

Go Legit

The first thing you need to do is to register your business. There are three types of business ownerships in the Philippines. A sole proprietorship is a type owned by a single individual, and this is how you can turn freelancing into a legitimate business.

In a single proprietorship, one person owns all of the assets of the business and is also responsible for all the liabilities the business may incur.

In terms of taxes, the individual and his or her business are considered one taxpayer and can use a single tax identification number (TIN). However, as a sole proprietorship, he or she needs to apply for a trade name with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), as well as secure several business permits and licenses for the business application.

On the other hand, an individual who doesn’t have a client yet that he or she is catering to has a taxable income. In this case, the person can register with the BIR as an independent contractor/professional. However, in this case, a DTI trade name application is no longer necessary as the individual’s name will be used as the trade name.

Creating Your Own Personal Brand

Just like in freelancing, your clientele grows through word of mouth and recommendations. This is where personal branding comes in. Whether you are a sole proprietor or an independent contractor, it is important to build your own personal brand, as it can affect both sales and lead generation.

Researchers found that 84 percent of decision makers start their purchase process with a referral. So, the more people recommending you, the more projects and clients you will gain, and this is where personal branding can help you a lot.

Simply put, personal branding is the method of people marketing themselves and their expertise as “brands.” Basically, this is how you package yourself as a product or service and how you market it to colleagues, clients, and leads.

Today’s freelancers often make the most out of social media and blogs and even their own personal website to market their personal brand. The easier people can find your business information and works online, the faster they can touch base with you.

Benefits of Going Legit

A BIR registration and official receipts will increase your credibility as a professional business provider. Applying for credit cards and loans will also be easier now that you are a registered business. Moreover, you wouldn’t have to worry about cases of tax evasion, as well as your clients who choose to work with you.

While the registration process can be a bit daunting, especially with the list of application requirements, in the long run, turning your freelancing gigs into well-oiled business operation will benefit you and your career. Being registered will enable you to work with bigger clients and projects, which translate to greater earnings.

If you’ve been freelancing for a while now and want to take your career to the next level, it’s time to go legit and build your own brand.

 

Download the Freelancer Registration eBook

Are You Ready to Step up from a Micro to a Small Business Owner?

Based on the figures from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), there were 946,988 establishments in the country in 2014 alone, and about 99.6 percent are considered micro, small, and medium enterprises. Collectively, they are known as MSMEs.

Among these MSMEs, 90.3 percent are micro business, 9.3 percent are small businesses, and 0.4 percent are considered medium enterprises. Based on these numbers, micro businesses are wide-ranging in the country, and more and more Filipinos are looking towards entrepreneurship.

But, what is the difference between a micro and small business?

Micro to Small Business Owner

Barangay Micro Business vs. Small Business

A micro business refers to any business activity that is engaged in agribusiness, industry, or services whose total assets do not exceed PHP3,000,000. These assets include the ones coming from loans but do not include the land on which the business’ equipment, plant, or office are located. If you have a micro business, you can register as a Barangay Micro Business Enterprise (BMBE).

On the other hand, a small business can be defined based on its asset size, equity capital size, and number of employees. If a business’ total assets are between PHP3,000,000 and PHP15,000,000, including the ones that come from loans but excluding the land on which the business’ plant, equipment, and office are located, they can be considered as a small business.

Both micro businesses and small businesses can be a single proprietorship, cooperative, partnership or a corporation. In terms of employees, a micro business has less than 10 employees while a small business has between 10 to 99 workers.

It is important to define if your small business activity falls into either micro, small, medium, or large business category in terms of support and regulation from the government. For example, The Magna Carta for MSMEs covers micro, small, and medium enterprises.

There are several benefits that business owners can claim, one of which is the qualification as a BMBE under R.A. 9178 that includes income tax exemption, government financial assistance prioritization, and technological support.

Upgrading from Micro to Small Business

Every business owner wants to see his or her business to grow. Here are some of the things micro business owners need to anticipate if they want to become a small business.

First, you have to go through the process of registering your business as a small enterprise, which means letting go of some of the benefits of being a BMBE, one of which is the exemption of income tax payment.

BMBEs whose total asset is below PHP3,000,000 are not required to pay income tax, which is quite enticing for many who are just starting out as novice entrepreneurs. However, as your business grows, so do your responsibilities and list of required business permits and licenses.

As a BMBE you only need to submit a BMBE Form 01 and three passport size ID pictures, while BIR registration comes with more requirements and procedures that needs to be renewed every year. If you plan to establish your company as a brand, you need to register your trademark with IPO (Intellectual Property Office).

You will also need to register your employees with the necessary government agencies such as Social Security System (SSS), Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), and PAG-IBIG.

If you’ve been thinking of upgrading from a BMBE to a small business, the first thing you that might discourage you is the non-exemption from income tax payment. It doesn’t help that the whole process can be tedious and time consuming. You can partner with a firm to help you with the paperwork and process, so that you can devote more time in your small business.

More and more Filipinos are turning towards entrepreneurship. There are various business ideas you bring to life right in the comforts of your own home, which can grow into a very lucrative business. If you’ve ever wanted to become an entrepreneur, this year is the time to do it.

 

Request for a Free Consultation

4 Business Benefits from Registering Your Trademark with IPO

For a business to operate legally and securely, they must comply with the necessary business registration requirements and be listed in several government institutions such as the Intellectual Property Office (IPO)—the agency that facilitates trademark registration in the Philippines.

According to the IPO, a trademark refers to “both trademark and service mark, although a service mark is used to identify those marks used for services only.” Simply put, a word or group of words, sign, symbol, logo, or a combination of these can all make for a trademark.

The right to a trademark is given by the IPO to the first one who files the application and serves as your trademark protection within the Philippines only.

However, doing so can provide you other significant benefits. Read on the listed items below to find out.

Benefits from Registering Trademark with IPO

Builds Identity and Branding

Having a trademark sets your business apart from others, as consumers can differentiate your products and services from your competitors. Just seeing your logo, for instance, would help people instantly recognize which business it is they’re seeing.

This is especially helpful when you’re just a small business and still in the process of building your brand. Aside from using your trademark to mark your store, you can use it for your marketing campaigns and promotional materials to create awareness about your business.

Adds Value

A trademark develops an intrinsic value over time as the business grows and becomes successful. In fact, it can become the most valuable asset of any business.

Registering a trademark gives you an exclusive right to use the mark while preventing others to use the same or similar marks. Conversely, you earn revenues for licensing others to use your mark through franchising agreements.

Having a licensed trademark is also something that investors look at for security reasons before they decide to fully invest in your business.

Serves as Protection

By not registering your trademark, you run the risk of unauthorized parties using it without your permission. This can not only damage your brand and reputation but your entire business as well.

Registering your trademark gives your business an extra layer of protection from those who’ll try to benefit from all the hard work you’ve put into building your brand and reputation.

Gives Legal Rights

Should anyone try to imitate you by using your trademark, you can avail of civil or criminal actions or even administrative actions from the Bureau of Legal Affairs of the IPO—only if you’re the registered owner of the trademark.

Not having your trademark registered puts you in a frail position to fight for rights that should have been yours.

Trademark registration is, therefore, essential if you want to protect your business in the Philippines. If you haven’t registered yet, do so as soon as possible before somebody else beats you to it.

Request for a Quotation