Manila, Philippines

Copy- Paste Pinoy Entrepreneurs?

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Many have suggested that I put up a sari-sari-store in

a vacant space in our lot. As in many. 

But I don’t want to. Why? Because the house across the corner already has a sari-sari store. And so is the house two lots away to the left. And so are the houses 3 and 4 lots away to our right. Yes, they’re right beside each other.


Don’t get me wrong, I promote entrepreneurship among Filipinos. This is one of our keys to financial freedom and a good economy for the Philippines. I also admire the ingenuity and creativity of Filipinos, in arts, process improvements, shortcuts and workarounds, (palusots and alibis!) and coming up with new products, whether imitated or an improved version of an existing one.

We Filipinos are very creative and there’s still a lot to exploit in our creativeness. What I noticed though is that we don’t tend to be super creative and creatively initiate. We prefer to be reactive-creative once someone creates a pioneering idea that seems to work, we do the same. Then we just change the name, improve a bit, but bottom line we follow suit. We imitate.
Sari-sari stores. Pearl shakes. Milk tea. Generic drug stores. Buko juice and shake. Siomai. Waffles and empanadas. Palamig. Sisig. Food carts in general. 
Sari-sari Store.jpg

Lechon manok and lechong baboy, pritong manok. Inasal. Perfume stalls. Cellphone casing. Prepaid load business. Class- A Rubber Shoes. Imitation Bags. Multi-level marketing and networking. And soon e-cigarettes I’m sure. The list goes on!

These are just some of the “in” businesses of yesterday and today. Just see one pioneering brand and copiers este competitors suddenly sprout everywhere. We want to have a piece of the latest action, the latest profitable business and assume it’s a sure fire way for our own successful business too. If you can’t beat them join them. 

We want to be in the “in” business. The latest. All of us. And soon enough the market is saturated, everyone is selling the same thing, everyone is less profitable. Well it’s good if they are targeting different segments and market niches, if there is a clear varying unique selling proposition for each. But no. We can’t even differentiate how one cellphone casing store is better than the one next to it. They even carry the same unknown brand names and make you wonder if they’re from the same suppliers, just with many stalls. It just boils down to better pricing and selling charm.

Again, I have no problem with this strategy, it’s their business money anyway. If it’s good and it works and it does not saturate the market, why not? Considering Filipinos are not confrontational as they say, and yet we put up competing businesses side by side. Discreetly I suppose.
But I just really wonder why. Even to the point that similar competing businesses are already side by side in stalls. Why? Risk and loss aversion? Lack of creativity? I have no definite answers. Just thoughts and assumptions.
Since I’m on the lookout for a business for my parents who are both staying at home and no longer working, maybe a sari-sari store is a good profitable idea. There are just 4 in our vicinity anyway.
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One Response

  1. […] who are creative, witty, funny, and bordering maloko. But it can also be a bane for us, since Pinoy’s also love to copy-paste. In a recent franchise expo I attended, the speaker showed what he dubbed as Mang Inasal’s […]

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