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Top SME trends for 2023

By LAI S. REYES, The Philippine STAR Published Aug 09, 2022 10:00 am

To survive in the pandemic years 2020 and 2021, small business owners had to learn to pivot to address the demands of the changing market, and shift to new ways of working on the fly.

Chefs and restaurateurs looked for ways to fine-tune the way they were selling, serving, and delivering food. Medical practitioners shifted to online consultation, while some fashion designers ventured into protective clothing. Those with a strong online presence did the next best thing: hit the Internet.

E-commerce, telemedicine, delivery services, arts and crafts, and gaming are just some of the businesses that continue to drive the post-pandemic environment.

Raising Smart Entrepreneurs

PhilSTAR Media Group (PMG) believes in the power of SMEs and values the important role they play in driving our economy forward and helping build our nation — post pandemic.

“We are so inspired by their extreme passion even amid the crisis,” notes PhilSTAR Media Group executive vice president Lucien Dy Tioco, the brains behind PMG’s biggest advocacy program to date — “Nakakalocal: Love Local, Grow Global.”

Most business owners and employees prefer Flexi-place capability of doing work as they can do their business operations whenever they are.

Nakakalocal is designed to help SMEs that have difficulty accessing knowledge and resources that would make them more productive, and those who are afraid of leveraging the power of social media.

In a bid to raise smart entrepreneurs and guide individuals, who are ditching career paths in favor of pursuing their dream businesses, PhilSTAR Media Group taps some of the country’s top entrepreneurial minds — transport advocate and Angkas CEO George Royeca, Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship-Go Negosyo executive director Mina Akram, and Trade and Industry Development specialist Jomel B. Lozada of DTI — to share some of the top business trends to jump into in 2023.

In a bid to raise smart entrepreneurs and guide individuals, PhilSTAR Media Group taps some of the country’s top entrepreneurial minds to share some of the top business trends to jump into in 2023.

Understanding these business trends can help small businesses prepare for new challenges while accepting that the landscape has likely been permanently altered.

George Royeca, transport advocate and CEO of Angkas

  • Innovate to solve problems, not just make profits. The biggest problems in the world right now are those created by rapid progress and population growth. Angkas was founded explicitly to address traffic congestion in the NCR, a result of overpopulation and overcrowding. It also provides gainful employment to low-income Filipinos. By presenting a lower emission alternative to four-wheeled vehicles, Angkas also helps address issues of dwindling resources, and carbon emissions.
  • Co-create. The world has become a smaller place. What we do as entrepreneurs and innovators will have an impact on our society. Innovation has to be co-created with regulators, would-be customers, employees, and all concerned. The innovations we co-create then become shared responsibilities. Angkas wasn’t just a new company, it was the first company of its kind and it spawned a whole new industry.
  • Appeal to your customer's values. Studies show that today’s consumers are willing to pay a premium on products and services from companies that mirror their own personal beliefs and values. Consumers these days favor companies that have great customer service, treat their employees well, are sticklers for quality, and practice sustainability rigidly. At Angkas, we never compromised passenger and rider safety. This is the “secret” to Angkas’ success and the wide public acceptance not just of Angkas customers, but the motoring public as well.
  • Sustainability. Thinking of products and services, as well as ways and means of providing these products and services that do not have a negative environmental impact. By serving as an alternative to private cars, and taxis, Angkas is decongesting traffic, and lowering the road time of these vehicles, thus lessening the collective carbon footprint of the general public.
  • Use “winnovation” to build businesses. "Winnovation" is innovating with a wider view and for the good of all concerned. Build businesses that not only address customer demand but also provide gainful employment. Angkas has been a win for the commuting public, a win for our rider partners and their families, a win for motorists, and a win for government regulators.

Mina Akram, executive director of Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship-Go Negosyo

  • Health and wellness. We are not yet out of the pandemic and people are now more invested in their overall health.
  • Logistics/mobility. People are out and on the go, and goods and services are also moving around rapidly.
  • Food. Regardless of the year, situation, etc., food will always be a hit, but there should be a differentiator on the offering or at least a market that’s “craving” for it.
  • Anything green and sustainable. Because people are now becoming more environmentally conscious.

Jomel Lozada, Trade-Industry Development Specialist of Department of Trade and Industry's Program Development Division

  • Dropshipping. A majority of SMEs engage in reselling products. In dropshipping, business owners can get their supplies online, rebrand the products, market them online, and book the products online for delivery to their customers. This business format cuts out the need for big manpower and other usual expenses like rent. Apart from that, all transactions are done in a matter of micro-seconds, meaning business operation is fast and swift.

  • Utilization of online selling platforms. SMEs must utilize different online platforms. Not only is it free of rent, they can also market and showcase their products to a wider audience, minus the hassle of maintaining a physical store. The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is launching a roadmap to e-commerce 2022 to help train business owners and their employees to be more digitally adept.
  • E-payments. As more and more people embrace the convenience of using e-payment platforms, expect the rise of e-payment services like GCash, Paymaya, and Paymongo. 
  • Flexi-place business format. Most business owners and employees prefer a hybrid setup in doing their business. DTI calls it Flexi-place. This format enables business owners to conduct their business operations online, anytime, anywhere.
  • Microinsurance. Many SMEs are getting their businesses insured. DTI has partnered with Cebuana Lhuillier to help strengthen the contingency plans of SMEs through the micro-insurance plans it offers.