Many people know coconut as a “miracle fruit,” and tout its myriad health benefits and versatility. Thus, it’s no wonder that the business sector for coconut products is booming, especially in the Philippines.
Our country currently has a lot going for its coconut industry, and the hard work of Filipino farmers, agriculturists, and entrepreneurs has also been recognized all over the world. We are currently the world leaders in coconut oil production, accounting for 35.7% of the global share. In addition, we are also the world’s most prolific exporters, exporting 27.3% of the world’s coconut oil.
This may seem like the perfect time to do business for coconut oil entrepreneurs and VCO suppliers in the Philippines. But jumpstarting any business, let alone for a sector with very tight competition, is no easy task. If you’ve made the decision to venture into coconut products, you should be ready to put in the work and study the business.
That said, we’re excited to see more Filipino entrepreneurs get creative with coconuts, which will always be a source of local pride. Here are our 5 tips to get you started on your business journey.
1. Draft a Business Plan
The first thing that you’ll need to do is to craft a business plan with your team. This is where all the basics of the business will be hammered out, such as what your target product will be, where you’ll be locating your business operations, and which markets you will be tapping into. Also amongst the technical details are your inputs about current market trends in the coconut industry, your budget for coconut-related technologies, and a network of potential suppliers. Before all else, make sure to draft and deliberate over a business plan and proceed when you have all the important details ironed out.
2. Study the Competition
Admittedly, one of the challenges of getting your business off the ground is determining how you’ll stand out from your numerous competitors. For example, there are a lot of entrepreneurs selling pure virgin coconut oil, which is very commonplace and hard to rebrand.
But, here is where you can step up to the challenge—what will make your coconut product different from everyone else’s? What branding strategies might be appropriate to hook a particular customer base? What new possibility could you offer a customer with something as familiar as coconut oil? When you answer all of these questions, you’ll have found ways to make your products stand out.
3. Foster Important Business Partnerships
Next, you should focus on your relationships with people who will pull your business forward. Get connected with a trustworthy and efficient supplier who can offer you the best quality base products, and who can also help you walk through the business process.
In addition, perhaps it would also be good to ask for advice from a mentor, and to join a cooperative of farmers and fellow entrepreneurs to be in the know about how the industry is evolving.
4. Register your business
Once you’ve got the capital and the manpower, it will be time to register your business. The steps to registering your business are: securing a trade name (for sole proprietorship, at the Department of Trade and Industry), obtaining a business permit and license, and enrolling official employees for remittance of employee contributions. Contact the relevant agencies about what exact requirements you’ll need to fulfill, as regulations are also subject to change. You should expect the process to take up to a few weeks.
5. Engage the market
It’s now time to take your products to the market! If you don’t have your own storefront yet, we recommend starting out at trade fairs, bazaars, weekend markets, and the like. There is also the option to contract the sale of your products in a partner store or on an e-commerce website that draws a lot of local traffic.
There’s a wealth of potential to be had from coconut products themselves, but we hope you can also draw from your team’s unique potential and make a name for yourselves. We wish you the very best on your next business venture!