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seeking smale-scale investment advice


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As I mentioned in my profile, I am coming to Cebu shortly to meet a woman I met online. It is my first time in the Philippines but I am no stranger to SE Asia and foreign cultures (in many ways I prefer them to my own) and I am trying to "hit the ground running" as much as possible. In the sense that I will try in the month that I am there, to at least come up with a business plan that will allow me to live there more or less permanently by next year.

 

At any rate, she and I have already discussed ways to make money there and assuming we hit it off, her idea is to open an internet cafe in a town of 15,000 where there is already at least one. I would like to really explore all options before handing over the 100,000 PHP she says it will take to get the cafe up and running. My gut tells me this will hardly support us, let alone her family but I really dont' know enough about how things work there to judge it yet. I am a hands-on guy, a carpenter and fisherman among other things, and would love to find a business I could run that is in some way related to what I already do for work. If the business is able to provide employment for local people, at a decent wage, even more attractive! Ok, I'm a little bit idealistic at this stage, forgive me please.

 

So anyone like me out there, early 40s, not yet retired, looking to slowly but steadily build up a business there with minimal (read less than $10,000 USD) investment?

 

***This may be redirected to the "other regions" forum but I should mention here that I also have a pinoy amigo from Davao del Sur who claims that an investment in lakatan plantation will provide a quick return on a minimal investment, and after doing some research online, it seems highly plausible what he said, that from planting to harvest would be less than 2 yrs and with a very good price for lakatan now (300-450PHP/tree), one could easily make their money back in that time. His brother has the expertise and he and I would invest an equal sum to rent the land, have it tilled and pay for the planting. Upkeep would be supervised by his bro, for a salary which we would determine at a future date. Any thoughts on this enterprise?

 

That should read small-scale....and certainly not to be confused with she-male.

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digiteye

Since you cannot use the private message system it would make sense to make your email public so I can contact you.

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Digiteye,

Forgive my ignorance as to the ins and outs of this forum but I'd rather not make my personal email available until I've had a chance to read everyone's profiles. I hope you understand. Seems crazy to have to post 50 times for privileges but hey, thems the rules. So, yes, if we can correspond privately, great but unless you can tell me how to do it, I'm not comfortable posting my email for all to see at this point. Hope you understand my rationale....and thanks very much for the interest...let's talk!

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RogerDuMond

Digiteye,

Forgive my ignorance as to the ins and outs of this forum but I'd rather not make my personal email available until I've had a chance to read everyone's profiles. I hope you understand. Seems crazy to have to post 50 times for privileges but hey, thems the rules. So, yes, if we can correspond privately, great but unless you can tell me how to do it, I'm not comfortable posting my email for all to see at this point. Hope you understand my rationale....and thanks very much for the interest...let's talk!

 

By changing your settings you can allow other people to send you email through the board. The setting despite saying make my email public, does not show your email address to anyone. No one will know your email address unless you answer them back. If you want to do that, click your name in the upper right corner, select my settings, select notification options, un-tick the first box saying hide my email address, and click on save changes. After you do this your profile page will have the option of allowing people to send you an email. As I said this does not show your email address to anyone and an email sent to you goes through LinC.

Edited by RogerDuMond
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Alan S

There are many restrictions on the type of business that YOU can run.

 

(See: http://www.livingincebuforums.com/topic/17296-what-type-of-business-can-you-run/ )

 

If you provide the money for your GF to buy a business, there are obvious risks, and many will advise you not to, but some people do do so, and find that it works out OK.

(Probably best to get to know the person really well first.)

 

Then, it is her business and there are restrictions on what work you can do.

Most can be overcome, or ignored, but it is worth checking the legal position first.

 

I would have thought that an internet cafe would be too risky. In fact, almost anything that a Filipino can run, they will do and as they will be happy to live on less than you can, will undercut you.

 

I know little about plantations, but like an offer, it would need careful checking before "I" would want to get involved.

 

I am sure you will get many people offer you "the deal of a lifetime"

as soon as they know you have money!

 

Read, read and read more, as the more you know about the country and people, the more ideas you will have of suitable opportunities.

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Thanks Alan.

The truth is that an internet cafe, in a sleepy southern Cebu town, never sounded like a money-maker to me. However, it could be something for her and her family to subsist on and spend time on, if I am elsewhere. But, as per your advice, you bet your ass I'm going to take my time getting a sense of things before I jump.

 

Based on what I have heard and read thus far, I have no intention of having anything in my name there. As for the sagingan idea, my understanding is that once the land owner gets wind that a kano is involved it will make the rental price go up automatically so it is in my best interest to be a shadow partner, in this and every other venture. If I have time in May, I'll make a trip over to Mindanao and check out things. At any rate, my pinoy friend won't be home until that time and I wouldn't think of doing business without him.

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Ozepete

Be very careful Tuanj, and like others have said, get to know the lady very well first.

Investing 100k in an internet cafe indicates to me that the idea has not been properly researched as I doubt that that money would be anywhere near adequate.

If you can hook up with someone trustworthy who is equally committed financially, then the agricultural idea may be better but I would suggest that you discuss that with LinC member James M as he is well qualified in that area.

Also be careful of those offering scams schemes that look too good to be true.

 

Good luck and hope it all works out for you.

 

Cheers..

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MABUHAY,

 

as you wrote , its your first time in RP.

 

 

please get to know the people here first and most of all,

 

get to know your sweetheart well .......................... before going into business.

 

 

relax lang , take it easy ..............

 

my 2 cents only.

 

cheers

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Alan S

tuanj,

Think about your skills, abilities and knowledge.

They are all you have going for you as lots of people have $$$.

 

Whilst you may be limited on what the law allows you to do, there are exceptions, and they may help.

 

Also, think about contacts you have "back home". Do any of them want things that you could have made (or make) in the Philippines where you could earn commission on them?

 

What is already made there that yoou could arrange to sell back home?

 

Do you have special skills that might be useful to other expats?

 

There are lots of possibilities, but the easy idea is unlikely to be one that works as everyone else will have thought of it.

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littlejohn

You haven't met her in person yet and your already thinking of handing her relatives money? They may be as honest as can be but I'd say their is a very good chance your being played but probably an even bigger chance they have no clue what their talking about or they would already have such a business. Their really are lots of ways to make money here but its much harder for an outsider.

 

I have a wonderful Filipina wife I love her to death and even her folks are honest even if her dad does have a gambling and drinking problem (not really an alcoholic but gets violent when he drinks) however her other relatives often steal from us or try to get money from her parents even through we don't give them much, cant afford too. They even threatened our family if they didn't give them their carabao to sell. Use extreme caution when giving anyone here money or partnering with them, to many you are seen as a walking ATM machine because your not Philippino. Yes their are lots of great people here but it only takes one bad one to send you to the poor house.

 

I would caution you to get to know them WELL before considering going into business with them, Even more so giving them control of any amount of money or property. Most people that make it here have an outside income (I get disability) to fall back on after they go through their savings. It takes a while to learn the country and get to know your new relatives.

 

I have been living here (Mindanao) for about 3 of the last 3 1/2 years. We have tried a few things to make money either they lost money or didn't make enough to be worth the effort. Currently we are just finishing up building a fishing structure called a 'New Look' I really believe this one will make money but we have heard much variation on how much. They cost about $2,000 US to build and outfit. We have been lead to believe they gross around that a month. Though you will likely hire someone to run it and they are often get half. The most common reason for failure we have heard is hiring dishonest managers that steal most of the profit. So keep that in mind. I doubt you will want to run one yourself unless you seriously modify the design which will obviously add to the cost. It is a bamboo structure and its like walking on 2x4s to man a 40 foot net. Also most areas will have the possibility of storm damage in typhoon season. We don't have typhoons here though.

 

I will try to get back to you in a couple weeks once we actually get it going to let you know how we did with it. It should be ready to go tomorrow if we find some decent lights but they wont start any bussiness unless its on a day of the month with an 8 in it so that it will bring good fortune :rolleyes: so we are planning to start up on the 18th. lol

 

I wish you the best of luck

 

Littlejohn

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George45

Heres my :rolleyes:

You just meet her online and don't know her DO NOT give her any money .

If you do open a inter net business check out .

Go to fourms, businesses,products & services.

Then look at the topic so you want a internet cafe.

Good luck.

George45

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mpt1947

My wife had her own internet cafe before we met and married. I talked to her about your proposal last night.

 

First know your service area - 15000 people at least one Cafe is an understatement. We live in a Village of about 3000 and we are one of at least 10.

We have 8 computers, most have 2, 3, maybe 4 couple have 10 (we are planning on adding two more).

 

Know your costs - 100,000 pesos will get 4 computers and monitors. You will need keyboards, mouse(s), and headsets - plus back ups - most customers are gamers and they are not gentle with equipment. Don't forget the modem, and routers and probably a tech guy to deal with broken down computers and other problems you might encounter. oh you may need a printer/copier/scanner - maybe a fax.

 

You will need a good internet provider with a good signal - my wife doesn't recommend Globe - maybe Smart but we have a DSL with the Phone Company 1000 pesos a month for the line. Also you will have increased power usage - don't forget extra fans or A/C - you will need computer tables, stools, some kind of coin operated meter - we have it hooked into the monitor - drop the coin the monitor comes on for 5-6 minutes

 

Will you operate out of a home or new building? If new building Tax Collector may see it - need permits, don't forget software and licenses (or not)

 

Does your possible G/F have business experience - how about her family - bottom line - come on over for a month get to know her and her family - decide if there is first a love connection, even if there isn't decide if they are capable of running a business - unlikely you will be able to get the business going in a month - will they spend the money you leave them on the equipment or will they decide that the ultimate karaoke machine is what they want to spend the 100,000 on?

 

So just come over for your vacation - leave your money at home - and enjoy yourself - you can always comeback with the purpose of getting the business going or working up a business plan for yourself or her.

 

Good Luck

 

PS if you decide this is what you want - get a hold of Norseman (Tim) he too has started a couple of Internet Cafes and has on hand experience - or you can talk with my wife.

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Ozepete

tuanj,

Think about your skills, abilities and knowledge.

They are all you have going for you as lots of people have $.

 

Whilst you may be limited on what the law allows you to do, there are exceptions, and they may help.

 

Also, think about contacts you have "back home". Do any of them want things that you could have made (or make) in the Philippines where you could earn commission on them?

 

What is already made there that yoou could arrange to sell back home?

 

Do you have special skills that might be useful to other expats?

 

There are lots of possibilities, but the easy idea is unlikely to be one that works as everyone else will have thought of it.

 

This is great advice above,

So why don't you come to Cebu first without making ANY commitments. Travel around with your eyes and ears open, there are lots of things made in Cebu that could be profitably exported and marketed in your own country.

Alternatively, competing with the Cebu locals in a business selling to locals that they know better and to their people in their country, people who have little spare money, is very optimistic indeed.

 

Cheers..

Edited by Ozepete
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fred42

My wife had her own internet cafe before we met and married. I talked to her about your proposal last night.

 

First know your service area - 15000 people at least one Cafe is an understatement. We live in a Village of about 3000 and we are one of at least 10.

We have 8 computers, most have 2, 3, maybe 4 couple have 10 (we are planning on adding two more).

 

Know your costs - 100,000 pesos will get 4 computers and monitors. You will need keyboards, mouse(s), and headsets - plus back ups - most customers are gamers and they are not gentle with equipment. Don't forget the modem, and routers and probably a tech guy to deal with broken down computers and other problems you might encounter. oh you may need a printer/copier/scanner - maybe a fax.

 

You will need a good internet provider with a good signal - my wife doesn't recommend Globe - maybe Smart but we have a DSL with the Phone Company 1000 pesos a month for the line. Also you will have increased power usage - don't forget extra fans or A/C - you will need computer tables, stools, some kind of coin operated meter - we have it hooked into the monitor - drop the coin the monitor comes on for 5-6 minutes

 

Will you operate out of a home or new building? If new building Tax Collector may see it - need permits, don't forget software and licenses (or not)

 

Does your possible G/F have business experience - how about her family - bottom line - come on over for a month get to know her and her family - decide if there is first a love connection, even if there isn't decide if they are capable of running a business - unlikely you will be able to get the business going in a month - will they spend the money you leave them on the equipment or will they decide that the ultimate karaoke machine is what they want to spend the 100,000 on?

 

So just come over for your vacation - leave your money at home - and enjoy yourself - you can always comeback with the purpose of getting the business going or working up a business plan for yourself or her.

 

Good Luck

 

PS if you decide this is what you want - get a hold of Norseman (Tim) he too has started a couple of Internet Cafes and has on hand experience - or you can talk with my wife.

 

So lets say 200k for an internet cafe setup running with 4 pc`s,permits and shop front rental in place etc..

Where I live I use these cafe`s occasionally and it costs me 15.00 Pesos per hour.

So 4 units running for 10 hours with constant use would produce 600.00 per day but allowing for quiet periods probably closer to 400.00 Pesos per day or just under 10k per month based on being open 6 days.

Discount wear,tear, maintenance, A/C and electric bills,taxes and the constant worry of being raided for using unlicensed software etc and I think its safe to assume that I would not touch this business with a ten foot barge pole.

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billten

Please, do yourself a favor and search this forum for internet cafe startup's. They are legion and all (ok, most of them) are doomed. It seems like such a simple little business, and it is. Unfortunately, everyone kn ows it and has driven the price down to a point that is is really uneconomical.

 

I agree with the earlier posters, don't be in any hurry. Relax, check out the place, the people and most of all the girl. Go slow, it will be quicker in the end...

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