Winter is drawing in and the year is coming to a close, so what better time to prepare for 2018? Your diary should be filled with all the important, notable or just plain fun (National Speak Like a Pirate Day, anyone? 19th September!) dates throughout the year, so you can figure out how your business can benefit well in advance.
Here’s our handy list of key dates to get you started.
Your date to pay your VAT will depend on when you registered and will be a year and a week from this date.
Keep this day clear in your diary, and make sure you are organised to complete all VAT payment before then.
Of course, bars and pubs, you can’t be expected to stop selling boozy drinks this month, but you can definitely strengthen your menus with some virgin cocktails and tee-total tipples that are more exciting than a glass of lemonade.
January 15th: Blue Monday
This day is officially the most depressing of the year, so do what you can to cheer them up! The wake of Christmas spending is a big contributing factor to our national blues on this day, so try a money-saving offer so people can enjoy a treat for less.
January 31st: Tax Returns
This day is the deadline for self assessment returns for the tax year ending on April 5th 2017. All taxes for 2017 must be paid off on this day, and first payments for 2018 started.
Workplace pension staging date
Automatic enrolment started back in October 2012, and new employers have the final staging date in February 2018 This means you need to have a pension plan in place and all qualifying employees enrolled. Pension contributions will be introduced in phases, starting from this month.
February 13th: Pancake Day
Whether it’s a pancake race outside, a special menu or just a special offer on your aprons, this is a day when everyone is ready to get involved for the sake of delicious pancakes.
February 14th: Valentine’s Day
The day of love. Florists, make sure you have roses in stock, fashion boutiques, get your date-worthy dresses up front, coffee shops, make sure you’ve got everything lovebirds need for breakfast in bed. Online businesses, declare your love for your own customers with a flash sale or special offer.
March 1st: St. David’s Day
St. David is the patron saint of Wales. Welsh businesses take note!
March 11th: Mother’s Day
Flowers, gifts, breakfast in bed, a lunch with the family – if your business has something to offer that can deliver any of this to your customers, then make sure you let them know on social media, in-store and with timely offers, everyone wants to honour their mum today.
March 17th: St. Patrick’s Day
Be green and be seen on this day! Pubs and bars should deck themselves out in a suitable amount of shamrocks, stock up on the Guinness and make sure they’re ready for the celebrations.
March 24th: Red Nose Day
No matter your business, this is a perfect time for you all to get red noses on and be part of one of the country’s biggest charity days. Register with the charity to sell some noses in your shop too, or just make your support known through social media.
April 1st: Easter Sunday
Your in-store celebrating of this holiday can start well before the day! Coffee shops, bunny-shaped cakes and colourfully-iced oval biscuit ‘eggs’ are the flavour of the month, fashion boutiques should get flowers, rabbits and daffodils in their window displays and for online businesses, why not add a mini chocolate surprise to the orders you ship out?
If you can collaborate with your neighbouring businesses you can even host an Easter egg hunt (of course a few hidden eggs on your Instagram uploads also works)!
April 6th: Workplace pensions
From this month, phasing in of pension contributions enters the next stage, with employers paying 2% and staff paying 3% for a total of 5%, this phase will last until April 2019.
April 21st: National tea day
It’s a source of national pride, so if you’re a coffee shop, try concentrating on this most British of beverages instead. If your shop sells anything that would be perfect for a tea party – that includes the perfect dress, fashion boutiques – then try a flash sale or special offer.
May 7th: Bank holiday
The first of two bank holidays this month, restaurants should try and offer special deals for the bank holiday lunch or brunch lots of peckish Brits will no doubt want to enjoy in the spring sunshine.
May 25th: General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into effect
The GDPR is a new regulation to protect the sensitive data of individuals, for the case of businesses, their customers. By this date, you must ensure that you are fully compliant with the requirements of the GDPR.
May 28th: Spring bank holiday
Like above, restaurants should get in on this day of leisure, but this is also an increasingly popular time for flash sales, so get your products in line for a 24-hour discount.
June 17thth: Father’s Day
If your business has items that will make dad’s day then put them up front and centre and try putting them on offer so little ones, and slightly bigger ones, can help show their dad some appreciation on this day.
July 7th: World Chocolate Day
Coffee shops, take note!
August 27th: Bank holiday
This summer bank holiday (hopefully) promises sun and some relaxing time in the outdoors. Pubs and bars should ready their menus with offers and delicious concoctions to entice people in for a summery drink – you might want to stock up on the Pimms.
October 31st: Halloween
Get the costumes on, the camera out and make sure your Instagram followers know you’re taking part in this much-loved holiday, in fact, Brits spend in excess of £310 million on having a spookily good time during this day, so make sure your business gets a piece of the (pumpkin) pie!
It’s that time of year when men can set the razors aside and grow a beautiful beard in the name of men’s health. Get involved if you can, whether it’s encouraging your beard-growing staff to take part, or sticking a fake ‘tache onto others. The moustache has also become a very popular pastiche in recent years, so maybe you already have items (or have some shaped biscuits your coffee shop can bake) to sell as part of the theme and remember to have some proceeds go to the good cause it stands for.
National Novel Writing Month (Nanowrimo)
This month is when aspiring novelists around the nation try their hand at penning a novel in just four weeks. Many of these ambitious authors will be attending write-ins – meet-ups where they can support and share in the experience. So what better place to host a creative meet up than your coffee shop (or bookshop, or boutique)?
A free table once every two weeks for any Nanoers passing will very likely win you a loyal customer for when the novel is written and many months of editing are to follow.
November 5th: Guy Fawkes
A time for fireworks, hot chocolate or something stronger and mulled for the grownups. You can use this theme to market your most glitter-tastic products, or just your warmest gloves both for keeping cosy and for safely handling those sparklers. Other products like disposable hand warmers, flasks, umbrellas and wellies are also all likely to find an enthusiastic customer audience around the 5th!
November 11th: Remembrance Day
While this is a sober event for the nation, your business should still do its bit by showing its support. Make sure your staff wear poppies, where possible, uphold the 2-minute silence at 11 am. Be aware that working this day into your marketing in any other way is likely to be considered poor taste.
December 24th: Christmas Eve
The final push before Christmas, people who haven’t finished their shopping will be on a mission to do so, and you should make sure you’re letting everyone know that your items are the perfect finishing purchase for their Christmas shopping sprint. Try a flash sale on Christmas-themed novelties you’re keen to sell before they’re destined for the sales bin. Coffee shops, try a set price deal featuring a drink and a snack to fuel shoppers through their day, bars and pubs, be ready for the celebrations come evening with a programme of offers and deals, and of course, a jukebox full of classic Christmas cheese.
December 25th: Christmas Day
It’s the best day of the year! Provided your Christmas marketing campaigns took full advantage of omnichannel promotion and the festive spirit of the season, you can probably sit back, relax and feel very content on this day!
December 31st: New Years Eve
As soon as Christmas is over, it’s time to get into the party spirit all over again, this time with an added bit of glamour. Cocktail dresses, dress shirts, pretty glassware, room decorations and even belated Christmas gifts all have their chance to shine on this day, so try a end-of-year offer to big farewell to 2018 in style.