Now is as good a time as any to start a business. The world may be a bit more uncertain than usual these days, but it also presents opportunities for those who want to try out different avenues to earn money. It’s surprising what an individual can accomplish with a little bit of free time and entrepreneurial spirit. Often, they are able to find a niche in their community and fill it by setting up a micro enterprise.
Businesses founded at home often fall under the micro category. Technically speaking, the term micro enterprise in the Philippines applies to businesses with assets of less than PHP3 million. Micro businesses appeal to regular Filipinos because these don’t require a lot in terms of capital, plus they leave a lot of room for growth. The micro entrepreneur can then deal with the complexities and challenges of running a business as it gets off the ground.
If you’re one of those who have found a business opportunity near your home, how do you go about the task of setting up your own venture? What types of loans can SME owners apply for? What do you need to know so you can start a micro enterprise that’s poised for growth? Aside from familiarizing yourself with the ins and outs of running your business, you should also learn how to do the following:
 Register Your Business
Registering your business with different government agencies is an important step in ensuring that it operates within the bounds of the law. If you’re a sole proprietor, you need to register your business with the Department of Trade and Industry. This registration has a validity of 5 years. If you’re dealing with a partnership or corporation, your business should register with the Securities and Exchange Commission. After this, you need to obtain permits from your local government unit, the Bureau of Internal Revenue, and other relevant agencies.
The process can seem intimidating for those who will be doing it for the first time, but doing your research beforehand can always help you make informed decisions. While registering your business, you need to decide on the business name and who owns it, where it will be based, its scope, and what exactly it will be dealing with, among other details.
Registering your micro business comes with exemptions, access to essential financial services, and other practical benefits that can help your business grow.
 Get Funding
Entrepreneurs assume a certain level of risk whenever they pursue a new venture. Micro businesses may not demand a big capital from the outset, but they need resources nonetheless. When you’re dealing with uncertainties left and right, setting aside a portion of your time, money, and energy to start a new business is a big gamble.
If you’re short on funds or you require more resources to sustain the growth of your business, you can start looking for other sources of capital. Banks often offer loans for micro, small, and medium enterprises. If approved, the short-term loan can be used to add to your capital, expand your operations, or purchase machinery and equipment. Aside from banks, you can also look into NGOs and special lending programs that aim to support entrepreneurs. Evaluate your options carefully so you have a better chance of making the most out of your loan and repaying it completely.
 Set Up Your Online Store
No matter how small or localized your business is, it still needs to have an online presence. This is particularly important if your business will be mostly conducted online. Creating a dedicated social media profile or a small website for your shop brings your business to where your target market is. Study how to use these tools properly and you’ll be able to reach more people in your area. This, in turn, can cut down your marketing expenses. What’s more, having an online presence will make it easier for your business to build connections with your clients and help you cultivate loyalty among your community members.
 Explore Ways to Build Customer Loyalty
Returning customers play a major role in sustaining the growth of a business venture. First, they cost less. Studies show that attracting a new customer costs 5 times more than retaining an existing one. Second, returning customers do a good job of bringing new business to the ventures they support. If they’re happy with their experience with a particular business, they can act as advocates and refer that business to their family and friends.
There are many different ways of building customer loyalty. Take the time to study these methods, how you can best apply them to your business, and how your customers respond to your efforts. In time, you’ll find a great combination of customer loyalty programs that will keep your patrons happy.
Starting a micro business is a learning process. There will be times when you’ll feel like you’re not prepared to face the challenges ahead of you, but these are also opportunities for you to grow as a business owner. Continue to keep your mind open to new ideas, and you’ll find the experience of reaching new heights to be quite rewarding.