What I Learned About Doing Business in Philippines By Reshma Nigam

What I Learned About Doing Business in Philippines By Reshma Nigam

The fresh industrialized economy of the Philippines is reputed as being among the most promising in the world. The country has the 13th largest population and the 34th largest economy in the world. Thanks to its sustained growth and modernization, the Philippines has managed to attract many multinationals looking to cut down their operating costs, take advantage of competitive wages, and the well-educated workforce. Yet, as in all developing economies, the country has a long way to go and that gives it a lot of scope for development.

Setting up Business

The Philippines certainly offered Markable Solutions a vibrant and dynamic business environment, but doing business as a foreigner can be a tricky task.

When I first decided to move my B2B call centers from India I was looking for a country that would welcome foreigners, where English would be widely spoken and the workforce would be hungry, motivated and ambitious. I had previously partnered with a company in the Philippines and found that while the workers were very good, finding good managers was an issue. While they paid their employees poorly, their charges to me were very high. The poor wages lead to heavy turnover and knowledge retention became a problem. Unfortunately, I could not make management understand this; my clients started to complain and I found it impossible to retain them.

Having established a good rapport with the staff there, I realized a well run company in the Philippines was possible. The country met my criteria of having a young, educated, English-speaking population. But what about ease of doing business?

The idea of working remotely with a foreign government to register a company, find office space, hire people, deal with taxes, benefits etc. appeared daunting to me. I realized quickly that I needed help. I started to look for companies that could help me set up the infrastructure and help with with all the teething troubles I expected.

This is when I was introduced to KMC Solutions. From providing service offices, hiring the staff, complying with local legal and business requirements down to human resources and staff management, such consulting companies offer a full suite of services that can help you set up and expand your business.

With my bad experience with the previous company, I was determined to start a company where employee retention would be paramount. The provinces seemed more affordable as rents were low and commuting times for staff would not be an issue. But what about finding the right staff and hiring the best management team?

It was then that Manila became the obvious choice. I was advised that Manila, being the capital, instead of the provinces would be the answer. Better connected to the US and India, the city has some of the best universities in the country and has a vibrancy to it. Makati and BGC were already home to a large number of US companies. The metropolis attracts a huge number of young call center workers who thought nothing of commuting upto 3 hours each way to get to work. People were educated, aligned with American culture and experienced in communicating with US and Europe.

I signed on with KMC and found in them a good partner who helped me with the task of finding a safe area to establish my foothold, to hire staff and navigate the system of company registration, corporate taxation, employee contracts etc.

Culture and People

It is exhilarating to see how women are treated equally in the Philippines and I have since had the opportunity to meet with many successful and hardworking women in my new Filipino business circles. Women hold leadership position in all walks of life and in the home, the woman is often the breadwinner. I personally motivate and embrace all my women employees; as fellow women entreprenuers will understand, one has to face a lot of challenges being a female entrepreneur. Seeing my Filipina employees excell and get into leadership positions affords me a great sense of satisfaction.

One more interesting thing that I observed was how associates liked to engage in personal small talk trying to establish and cultivate relationships. It is a very open society and everyone is embraced with open arms.

Manila – where we decided to set up our office is central business district in Makati City. The city hosts a plethora of events spinning around art, music, fashion, movies, and holidays best suited for westerners. It just feels like Los Angeles! The country has an excellent literacy rate at 96.9%. I was amazed to know how youngsters there enjoyed American entertainment and media.

I must say that despite the pollution and the traffic, there is something magical about the  business world and the will to succeed in the Philippines that keeps bringing people back, not only for tourism but also for Business Process Outsourcing (BPO).

This is definitely a new journey for Markable Solutions! We all are learning and growing together. I will periodically update this column with my experiences in Manila, so stay tuned for the next installment covering the Challenges and Opportunities in the Philippines.

 
Reshma Nigam CEO & President, Markable Solutions

A frequent speaker at Marketing events, Reshma Nigam is a known expert on digital marketing. She is on the Global Leadership Council at Lucas College and Graduate School of Business, San Jose State University and enjoys hiking, reading and the movies. Know more about Reshma Nigam

Markable Solutions is a Silicon Valley B2B marketing company offering end-to-end demand generation, funnel management & lead generation services to clients worldwide. We have expanded our delivery capabilities and opened new office in Philippines for b2b marketing services.

 

We are having call center for customer support services in Philippines and also provide all types of business marketing services world wide.

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