Can you remote manage or get someone else to setup a business in the Philippines for you?

I was asked via email this subject the other day. I would strongly advise not doing any business that you are in total control of even if its for relatives. The reason being is a lot of things are done without people realising they are wrong or in many cases they just can’t be bothered. On top of that if your employing others to do your business for you the big danger is the money will disappear one day with them.

How do I know? ask any Expat who has been here a while and you can pick at stories of failures from people they met. Sari-Sari store its a management of stock being eaten as well as people learning tight stock control. With livestock its being able to make a lot of the feeds yourself as the commercial ones are over priced and make it very difficult to make a living from livestock/farming.

The other issues I have seen is people drinking the money as it arrives and will worry about the “relatives” when they turn up. This mentality is very common and I have seen some marriages where it its happening. The husband is here and the wife is working abroad, the money sent for property renovation etc. ends up in Tanduay or Red Horse Beer. So if their own partners can’t trust them how can you?

Then you have the cultural differences that often don’t make any sense to a Western mind but they are everywhere. A lot of it is to make sure a tight grip is held on the Philippines by its Elitist families which often means common sense is thrown out from day one. So assumptions are also a bad thing!

Corruption does happen and I can see the differences between how our net-cafe was dealt with compared to an Expat nearby. He got harassed for mayor’s permits and valid Microsoft licenses where we didn’t even get questioned. Although all our stuff is upto date and I bought original windows XP for the machines. At the same time its because I am not so public that we get left alone.

What if you wanted to help families by creating work? Well the issue there is most educated people I know are either leaving or working towards leaving so if you did create something that was viable and even paid more than other businesses locally you will find you still have a very high turnover of staff. Even for Zoei’s Nanny (Yaya) we have had over 12 people apply of which only 2 actually worked and one of those had to leave due to pregnancy. Same issue another friend of ours has as her Yaya’s are also going.

People often assume people want to work or helping your actually improving things but a lot of the time you will find disappointment due to many people having little or no interest. Its common for people not to turn up to work with such excuses as “it was raining”. So all in all its pretty bleak especially if you aren’t familiar with the localised cultural issues and a population that is looking to leave in many cases.

Problem with a society in brain drain mode it can only go so long as it starts to strip away the system to a point it can’t supply enough people to repair it.

Hopefully we will get a few replies to this post from people who are already here with their experiences as I have yet to meet anyone here who has said its anything less than hard. Also their opinions of the local population has changed over time with experience.

2 comments for “Can you remote manage or get someone else to setup a business in the Philippines for you?

  1. Tomdean34
    August 2, 2010 at 4:02 am

    Matt
    Truer words have never been written. Your advice is 100% warning for anyone thinking of having relatives do any type of business while they are absent from the daily activities. I have heard many horror stories of failed businesses, failed attempts at relatives in charge of building a home, failed attempts with providing support for children, and on and on. If there is a success story out there, I would like to hear the details. I think you have touched upon the reasons that trying to manage anything from afar just does not work.

    Communication is probably a big contributing factor. Foreigners are usually detailed orientated and organized in such a way that they can see the big picture, and will correct problems as they arise.
    Filipinos on the other hand, tend to just let things happen no matter what course it is taking. They
    do not like confrontation or decision making where they may be blamed. Also when money is involved
    they may feel that a foreigner has an unlimited source of money. Many Filipinos think foreigners make
    millions of dollars a year.

    Also, it is difficult to make a business successful even if you are present everyday, so how much more difficult if you are absent and having faith that you are being told exactly what is happening in the daily going ons.

    Foreigners that want to run a business from afar, and when that business fails, will usually blame everyone but themselves for the failure.

  2. Tropicalpenpals
    August 5, 2010 at 3:40 am

    I have had to deal with things myself even here and you can see directly the differences between things being done when here and when not. The same people carried out construction on the lower building when i was abroad and the top was done with me here. The lower needs reskimming due to poor concrete mixes the top has very few problems. The finish on the top is also a lot higher. Your response written above pretty much covers everything that people should be thinking of before looking if at all for ventures as more often than not it may pay to actually just stick the money into something that you can control 100% and just take a smaller income than lose the lot.