So you’ve finally thought of your very own million-peso business idea. You have a stellar business product that has lots of potential to become The Next Big Thing, you’ve already drafted a detailed business plan to accommodate your vision, and you’ve gathered enough capital to see you and your entrepreneurial baby through the next five years. Things are finally falling into place, and you can’t wait to finally run the show and become your very own boss. Thing is, you just need to take one last step before you take the plunge and dive headfirst into the dizzying world of business: making your very own establishment legit.

Now, we’ve all heard stories that excruciatingly detail how cumbersome the process is, but don’t you worry. Sure, you may have to go through several government agencies, and yep, it could take a while, but registering your own business shouldn’t be really that daunting. To help you out, we’ve broken the entire process down into five easy steps! Take a look at them below:

Step One: Register your business at the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
First things first—you have to think of a fab name for your business. It should be catchy, it should have consumer recall, it should have that x-factor, and most importantly, it should be unique. So how do you make sure that your company name is truly your very own? Head straight to DTI and register your business name to make sure that you alone have exclusive rights to it. You can apply online through the DTI website, or you could head straight to their area offices, which are open from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. on weekdays. Click here for a list of the office addresses and their contact numbers.

NOTE: If you’re running a one-woman show (single proprietorship), then this is the first thing that you have to do. But if you’re planning to go into business with your BFFs (a partnership or a corporation), then you would have to go the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) instead so you and your barkada’s business (according to the DTI website) could be “treated as a legal or judicial entity.” For more information, you can visit the official SEC website here.

Step Two: Get a barangay clearance.
Where are you planning to set up shop: Caloocan, Manila, Makati, Quezon City, Taguig? Make sure that you secure a barangay clearance from wherever your business’s location is. You can just pay a visit at the barangay hall to get this one.

Step Three: Pay a visit to the local city hall.
Next, you have to go the city hall to have your business registered. The local government unit is the official agency that is tasked to release your official business permit, so this step is very crucial. According to the DTI website, “permits or licenses are required to ensure that the standards are met and that business complies with the specific requirements of the business locale.” Having that said, different cities or municipalities may have different requirements for the business permit application, so it’s important that you take notes and ask around at the local city hall. Bear in mind, though, that you should already have both your DTI registration certificate and barangay clearance before you head to the city hall, as they’re usually part of the requirements—so make sure that you’ve already secured these documents first before applying for a business permit. Both the Quezon City and the Taguig City halls have posted their requirements online, so you can also check out their official websites here (QC) and here (Taguig)

Step Four: Go to the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to secure a Tax Identification Number (TIN).
Have you ever wondered why consumers are always advised to ask for an official receipt? Having one signifies that the business is registered under the BIR and is paying taxes properly. So, having just a business permit from the local government is not enough—you should also register your business at the BIR, so your company can be issued its very own Tax Identification Number (TIN), thereby giving you the authority to print your own receipt or invoice. The BIR National Office is located at Agham Road, Diliman, Quezon City, so you better plan your trip if you’re not from Quezon City. You can also check out BIR’s official website here:

Step Five: Drop by other government agencies to register your product.
Our law requires certain businesses to register under different government agencies if they’re offering a particular product. For example, if you’re planning to venture into the virgin coco oil business, then you would have to the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), as it’s the official regulatory body that oversees all matters related to coconuts and coconut by-products (such as food, makeup, accessories, etc.). If you’re planning to enter the cosmetics industry, then you would have to go to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) at Filinvest Corporate City in Alabang to register your product. Need more info? Check out the DTI website for a comprehensive list of government agencies that have jurisdiction on certain products. Also, if you want to apply for a patent for your product, you can head to the DTI Intellectual Property Office (IPO) at McKinley Hill in Taguig.

Lastly, it’s important that you also make good on your legal obligations to your employees. Make sure that you secure a Social Security and Philhealth number for all your workers, as each employer is legally bound to do so. Workers who are SSS members and are earning at least P4,000 per month are also required to register under PAG-IBIG, so you shouldn’t miss out on that as well. Also, if you have five or more people working for you, then you should also register your business under the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to make sure that your establishment is complying with existing labor regulations.

(Photo by Garry Simmons via Flickr Creative Commons)

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