China is New Destination for Philippine Furniture Exports

Philippine inlaid mahogany and cane day bed or divan

Fairs & More Inc. (FMI), the leading service provider for trade fairs in the Philippines, Monday said they are focused on opening China as a premiere destination for Philippine furniture exports. China is the fourth biggest importer of furniture in the world after Europe, United States of America (USA), and Japan.

China imports $11 billion of furniture yearly. Its proximity makes it a very ideal destination for the country’s furniture exports. Philippine made furniture have been recognized for excellence in product design and craftsmanship. The Philippines just has to establish its presence in China.

Currently, USA and Japan combine for 60 percent of the Philippines total furniture export. Furniture exports to China are only at five percent. The Philippines is competing with China in the $64 billion USA furniture market. China now has 51 percent of furniture exports to North America while the Philippines only have 0.50 percent share.

Read more at the Manila Bulletin

Photo by apolakay at Flickr.com

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Manulife Philippines Offers US Dollar Bond Fund

Manulife Investor Sentiment Index

Manulife in the Philippines recently announced a new product called the Asia Pacific Bond Fund. This US Dollar variable unit linked fund is expected to generate returns using a mix of Asian-specific currencies, interest rates and bonds with investment grade. The returns come in through appreciation of capital and income generation over a medium-to-long term period. Manulife policy owners can derive higher US Dollar earnings through this type of income securities.

The Asia Pacific Bond Fund is managed by Manulife Asset Management’s Asia fixed-income team and draws on expertise of more than 40 fixed income investment professionals based on the ground in 10 markets across Asia. This includes a team of 16 local credit research analysts. This fund is available as one of the investment options under Manulife’s Affluence Max, which is a single-pay, variable life insurance product that seeks to give the policyowner the best possible return on both their investment and their built-in insurance protection coverage.

For more information, contact Manulife Philippines at (02) 884-7000 or e-mail phcustomercare@manulife.com

Source: 4-traders.com

Photo from Manulife.com

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Organizations Support More Agri-business for Migrant and Overseas Filipinos

Photo by bluelotus13 at Flickr.com

Atikha Overseas Workers and Communities Initiatives Inc (Atikha), Sorosoro Ibaba Development Cooperative (SIDC) and Filipino Women’s Council (FWC) Italy have forged a partnership to be able to mobilize the resources of Filipino migrants towards agri-based cooperatives in the Philippines. Atikha is a non-government organization working on maximizing the gains and minimizing the social cost of migration in the Philippines. SIDC is the largest agri-based cooperative in the Philippines and FWC is a migrant organization involved in rights based initiatives for migrants and their families in Italy.

The decision to invest in agricultural cooperative resulted from a meeting between FWC and Atikha. Based on a study, it highlighted the need to support farmer families of migrant Filipinos through cooperatives providing them with access to credit, market and resources. The farmer families of migrant Filipinos need cheaper loans and access to market as their earnings are being taken by middle men/loan sharks. The families acknowledge that dependency on remittance can be minimized if they owned the land and other resources required for production.

This project on Mobilizing Migrant Resources Towards Agri-based Cooperative is currently being assisted by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

Read more at Athika Website

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Microsoft to launch cloud-based Office for small businesses

Photo by msp_germany at Flickr.com

Microsoft is launching its cloud offering Office 365 later this month with a splashy event in NYC. Office 365 will be a subscription service that combines online versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint. And Office 365 will allow users to get to their mail, calendar, and contacts from virtually anywhere on desktops, laptops, and mobile devices.

Microsoft is offering Office 365 subscriptions for as low as $6 a month, aimed at small businesses that do not want to manage their own servers. The new Office 365 offering was in beta with 100,000 organizations and 2.5 million seats.

To read more, go to TechFlash

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Free Online Marketing, Social Media Marketing worth $30,000 for Small Businesses in the Philippines

Photo by intersectionconsulting at Flickr.com

Here is a message I saw in LinkedIn.com that you may want to look into by contacting the person. Please note that this is not a paid endorsement nor is the person affiliated to me in any way.


Looking for Filipino Entrepreneurs for STARTUP Small Business based in the Philippines

 

A new online marketing service of mine is currently on Beta Test Stage (definition: the second phase of testing in which a sampling of the intended audience tries the product out.) and I will be needing 10 slots to avail the 1-year FREE online marketing with social media marketing services worth $30k (if you’re going to avail with someone else) that my company will provide for Filipino Entrepreneurs.

REQUIREMENTS: Must have a live product or service that we can sell online. I advise to take advantage of the International market.

This service that is dedicated for Filipino Entrepreneurs for STARTUP Small Business is only LIMITED to 10 slots. ACT NOW!

If you are interested, please contact me for consultation at webmaster@joydeguzman.com.

Kindest regards,

Joy de Guzman
Master IT Solutions
http://ph.linkedin.com/in/joydeguzman

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It’s Never Too Late to be a Small Business Owner

Photo by Gallery 7 Digital Studio Inc. at Multiply.com

I started at 44 after 20 years of corporate life and a personal battle to save my marriage. In the span of four years, I had my ups and downs, successes and trials in redefining myself as an entrepreneur and a small business owner. Today, I’ve started from scratch again, this time going solo.

All told, there are probably thousands of small business owners out there who have done amazing things – not focused on the money but on inspiring or personal ideals like helping people, doing the thing you love, and so on. Here is one article I found (in Business World Online) that truly inspires the common Filipino.

American financier and statesman Bernard Baruch has been quoted to have said, “Age is just a number, a cipher for the records. A man can’t retire his experience. He must use it.” These words seem to be prophetic for Teodoro L. Ferrer who, after working for the Ayala Group for over 30 years, was planning to retire at 60, put up a small business, and take it easy. Little did he know that establishing Erikagen, the company that owns the Generika Drugstore trademark and business model, would keep him busier than ever.

Mr. Ferrer put up Generika Drugstore in 2004 when branded medicine dominated the retail drugstore industry. He muses that neither he nor his business partner and nephew-in-law, Julien Bello, had any prior experience in the retail or pharmaceutical industries. Their primary motivation was simply to bring affordable but effective medicine closer to the masses. A survey showed that low-income people were the ones doubtful about generic medicine — thinking that it would be a waste to spend the little money they have on what they perceived may not be effective. “This was the thinking six or seven years ago. We thought, why don’t we do something about it? And why not put up something more meaningful that would help society?” says Mr. Ferrer.

Read more at Business World Online

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A New Small Business Owner’s Guide to Success

Awesome post with lots of links to helpful stuff. This is one post I’d be interested in reading word for word without boredom.

It talks about a “Getting Started” part where timing is key – or not at all. Ultimately, it also boils down to the information you have before you begin your new adventure; and mind you, information in the internet is usually “free.” Search out the web before hitting the bookstores.

Many small businesses have engulfed themselves into content marketing without seeing eye-to-eye on the products and services they offer vis-a-vis the market they are targetting. A simple task like copywriting goes a long way in communicating “it” correctly.

Everyone wants to join the “Social Media” marketing bandwagon without ever realizing what the heck it’s all about. How do you talk about your product or service in bloggersphere, Facebook, Twitter and even YouTube? If you’re into social media marketing, how do you monitor what’s happening? This post provides a link to 60-plus free social media monitoring tools plus how to be creative in social media networks.

Operationally, how do you compete head-on with the big boys? This post also offers some simple steps to maximize your natural advantage. And of course, using “resilience” as a key factor to succeeding the small business arena.

Planning and preparation are key but it doesn’t need to be done as an ongoing, “forever going” activity. In the heat of the battle, things will change and that perfect plan will be no more.

Read more and get all the links to tips and tools at Small Business Trends.

Photo by crankyflier at Flickr.com


As a small business owner, you still need to talk to your customers. The web isn’t enough. Find out why “Talk is Cheap!” using www.kunnectph.com as your “no commitment” monthly service.


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Use a Cheap Hosted Solution to Increase Your Revenue – Now!

It used to be that businesses have to buy and set up technologies that cost hundreds of thousands of Pesos (not to mention millions to some) just to be able to conduct sales, marketing, service and support telephone campaigns with its Philippine clients or its market. Such complicated technologies also need the support of expensive experts to manage the entire infrastructure. Call center companies in the Philippines usually have the basis for implementing this kind of complex networks for its workforce because they are earning Dollars to the Pesos they’re spending.

But what about the small and mid-sized “non-call center” businesses who also want the same technology and productivity expensive systems provide? Even more, how about the mom-and-pop companies and SOHO (Small Office, Home Office) types who would love to get their hands on this kind of customer contact power?

Recently, I got involved in implementing the above-mentioned scenario in a small outfit that got a project from a major media company to provide lead generation and marketing activities within the Philippine consumer market. Instead of having to purchase an entire expensive solution for a project that wouldn’t even last a year, they turned to a hosted solution.

A hosted solution means the entire system of servers and software can be accessed via the internet, simply using a web browser. More often, people refer to this type of service as “Software as a Service (SaaS)” or “cloud computing.” The beauty of hosted solutions is that you only pay a monthly subscription fee to use the provider’s system without having to buy, install and manage a complicated set of servers and equipment. All you normally need is a PC and broadband internet.

Going back, this small marketing outfit subscribed to Kunnect (see www.kunnectph.com) for US$50 per month, per seat-license, and currently pays about PhP5.50 per minute for outgoing landline calls and PhP6.50 per minute for outgoing mobile phone calls. They employed four new employees with sales skills – no call center experience required – which means they subscribed to four seat-licenses from Kunnect. The rest of the team, composed of a manager, supervisor, quality assurance analyst, and other project members, do not have to pay to get access to the web-based hosted solution – pay only for the calling employees.

This marketing firm can now use all the features of Kunnect’s hosted solution, especially “predictive dialing” where they upload their calling list and let the hosted solution auto-dial for their four employees, making these people very productive because no manual dialing is conducted and only answered calls are quickly passed to each of these employees with a probable idle or gap time of less than a minute.

For their inbound calls, they subscribed to four fixed lines from a local Telco. These landlines are physically connected to a gateway equipment (which converts analog signals to digital) which is then connected to their internet line. This scenario means all incoming calls will be managed by the hosted solution, fully implementing automatic call distribution (ACD), interactive voice response (IVR) profiles, 100% recording of all incoming or outgoing calls, pop-up scripts respective to the various campaigns they are running, CRM interface to manage the database of leads, live monitoring from any place in the world, dozens of fixed but real-time reports, database queries and downloads so one can create customized reports, and a host of other features normally found in sophisticated call center systems.

Kunnect does not charge any “per minute” fee for all incoming calls, even if the hosted solution manages the calls, because the marketing firm absorbed the cost of the landlines. The only thing it charges, beside the nominal monthly fee of US$50, is a per-minute fee on all outgoing calls.

Here’s the funny thing – Kunnect becomes cheaper alternative when making a call to a Philippine mobile number. Where a normal charge calling a mobile phone from a landline is PhP12.00 per minute, Kunnect charges only PhP6.50 per minute. Not bad at all! But in essence, this hosted solution isn’t really an alternative because it provides you 100% recording of each call not to mention access to dozens of reports, live monitoring and the database, to name a few.

Kunnect’s hosted solution seems to be a great beginning for local entities – be they SOHO, small or large – wanting to engage in telemarketing while there is no anti-telemarketing law in place and 24×7 customer service that gives the caller more options than just a “ring, no answer” event, i.e. the IVR selections you create can give your caller the option to forward his call to any phone number in the Philippines or elsewhere in the world. Direct selling, real estate, food delivery, travel industry players and a host of many types of businesses will definitely benefit from using a hosted solution.

Kunnect provides its hosted solution to the Philippine market not only cheap and easy-to-use but it also comes with a “no contract” term – start and stop anytime with no termination fees. Now, that’s a great solution where small and mid-sized companies can now compete head-on with larger businesses without being tied into long-term contracts. You can now create or get a sales, marketing, service or support project without worrying about how long this project will last. When the project ends, so does your payment commitment to Kunnect. Awesome!

Kunnect has been providing its hosted solution to both call center and non-call center businesses in 12 countries since 2005. It is a global Tier-2 class carrier managing about 6 billion calls a year through its hosted solution.

For more information, you can visit www.kunnectph.com, which is run by the Country Representative of www.kunnect.com.

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Filipino SMEs Bullish About the Philippines

The Asia Business Monitor (ABM) 2010, the yearly survey undertaken by courier firm UPS, indicated that a huge 48 percent of Philippine SMEs would rather go into the IT sector to look for new business opportunities

In comparison, 39 percent of local SMEs picked the manufacturing sector and only 27 percent said they prefer business services.

All in all, Filipino SMEs are the most bullish about the opportunities in their own country compared to other Asian SMEs, with 85 percent of local SME leaders seeing more opportunities for themselves in the country in 2010 compared with last year, according to the survey findings.

Read more at NewsBytes Philippines

Photo by Kiva.Dang at Flickr.com

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