By Zoe Vu, COO, Pomelo Pay

As non-essential retail shops prepare to reopen on April 12, there are five future-proofing steps CEOs and business owners can take.

Embrace digital payments

Setting up digital payments will allow you to be more flexible and mobile than ever. Take QR codes for instance, which have allowed businesses to continue operating over the last year. As a payment method that doesn’t require any physical contact, it is a safe and secure way for businesses to continue interacting with customers and taking orders. They’re also agile, and can be printed and placed anywhere, such as in an email, on a menu, outside a shop or on a website. Many businesses have also had huge success with payment links, which are links you send to your customer that allows them to complete an online payment. They are a simple and effective way to accept payments, which saves businesses needing to sign up to invoicing software or pay a hefty fee to a payment processor.

Explore dedicated business admin software 

Save valuable time and resources when it comes to business admin by exploring business admin software solutions. Whether you are a fast-growing SME employing a large team or a sole trader, every business has a huge number of activities going on that they need to keep track of. Using software for tedious tasks such as payroll or data processing can free up human resource to do the bigger, more strategic and creative thinking that will be required to help businesses recover. Many businesses don’t use dedicated admin software, often because they think it’s going to be too costly or time-consuming to implement. In fact, these innovative tools are often available on free trials or short-term subscriptions and can make a huge difference with efficiency.

Create an online presence

Many of us will also likely take a while to get used to shopping on the high street again. Whether you sell a product or a service, it’s therefore imperative that you give consumers an option to reach you from the comfort of their own home. Companies that have an online presence are better positioned to reach customers, providing vital information about pricing, hours, availability to customers – and more – at the touch of a button. Investments in technology like an online shop give your customers new and easy ways to reach you and will insulate your business from the closures that many brick-and-mortar companies faced during the pandemic and may face again in future disruptions. As more and more businesses have developed an online presence over the course of the pandemic, it is important you don’t get left behind.

Welcome customer feedback 

Welcoming customer feedback is one of the most important things a business can do to ensure their longevity. Customer habits will have changed over the last year at an unprecedented rate, so make sure you’re not missing anything by soliciting feedback at every turn. At the end of the day, businesses should not fear feedback, because it helps shape your product and services to suit the people who actually use it.

Be ready to adapt

The past year has taught us that there are some things you simply can’t prepare for. While no business is future-proof, those that succeed long-term prepare for change and adapt as quickly as necessary. Being ready for change means staying ahead of the curve, embracing new technology, conducting regular market research and training staff to ensure they are equipped with the knowledge and skills to manage their changing roles.  

Some businesses have been procrastinating in digitising, but consumers certainly haven’t. This is a trend that’s only gained greater traction with the new technologies and rules that COVID-19 and lockdown have expedited. As that light at the end of the tunnel gets brighter there’s no better time than now to future-proof your business.