The potential in setting up an Internet cafe business in the Philippines is huge. Access is low at only 14.6% based on Internet World Stats data. This means only 14 million of the 96 million Filipinos have internet access. The other 85.4% or 82 million is a big market!
What does this mean to you as an OFW or a Filipino immigrant?
This business can earn you extra money. Not many people can afford to buy their own PCs so they are turning to cafes for net access. Putting up your business to capture them will set you apart from the rest.
But be careful. The market is so huge that it is easy to fall into the pitfalls of failure. It is not as simple as buying computers and opening your I-cafe. Get proper internet cafe information and see if this business is for you.
Who comprise your target market - school children, high school or college students, girls, boys, office workers, parents? Each market has specific needs. For example, male students use the internet for research, but they also play online games.
Knowing your market helps you decide on internet cafe products to offer. The Internet is not for surfing the net alone. Most I-cafe owners say online gaming makes up 70% of their businesses. The other 30% comes from surfing, chatting and emailing. There are also scanning, printing, typing, CD/DVD burning services.
Good location captures a bigger market. If you target students, being near the schools is ideal. But ask your city or town on local laws about this. Otherwise, get a place where your market has easy access to you.
The users' surfing or gaming experience will tell if they will be repeat customers. The PC specs affect surfing or gaming speed. Invest on processors, motherboards and video cards that will not be phased out in 2-3 years.
Provide web cams for chatters. Check A4Tech web cam for clarity. Include headsets to reduce noise for gamers. With headsets, you can do away with speakers.
You do not need floppy disk and CD/DVD in each PC. You can put them in one or two units to restrict access. Get 15" monitors to save costs and electricity. LCD monitors are even better.
Planning to provide scanning and printing services? One scanner and printer would do the job. Consider a printer, scanner, copier and fax machine in one to save space.
Anti-piracy drives are here to stay. Unless you set up a Linux internet cafe, getting licensed OS (operating system) and other software makes more sense than being raided.
More people use Windows so comply with its license. You only need 2 or 3 MS Office to cut costs. You may install the free Open Office for the rest of your units. Open Office works like MS Office but take time teaching users about it.
Anti-virus and other anti-programs are equally important to secure your PCs and users. What about timer to check online usage and sales? Bottom line? Get the best internet cafe software based on your budget.
Register a catchy business name with the DTI (Department of Trade and Industry). Get a barangay permit before the Mayor's Permit and register with the BIR. Consult a bookkeeper later on to prepare your books of accounts and financial statements.
An internet cafe business in the Philippines is promising given the huge market waiting to be tapped. Start making your internet cafe business plan now before going home for good. It requires some amount of money but given proper guidance, you can set it up with lower costs.