Six dates every small business should plan for in 2016

Business planning is key when you run a small business. After all, as the saying goes: Prior planning and preparation prevents poor performance!


With that in mind, here are the top events in 2016 that bring sales opportunities and simple ways to make the most of them. Read on to find out how you can take advantage of time-sensitive opportunities now by planning ahead to co-ordinate sales, staffing, promotions and marketing in advance.


Mother’s Day [Sunday 6th March]

Mums are often the most likely member of a family to remember special occasions and plan ahead. For Mothering Sunday, the key is to make everything as easy as possible for dads and kids – send reminder emails ahead of the day to your customer list, and make sure you’re prepared for last-minute orders and requests on Saturday 5th.


Easter weekend [Friday 25th March – Monday 28th March]

With a four-day bank holiday weekend, there’s plenty of opportunity around Easter and a clear link to sweet things – a perfect opportunity to treat your customers. Try incentivising purchases, such as giving away a free Easter egg for every spend in your store or online.


UEFA Euro 2016 / Wimbledon [Friday 10th June – Sunday 10th July / Monday 27th June – Sunday 10th July]

It’s a busy summer of sport! On big match days, you could run offers for anyone wearing their national football shirt – a quick, simple way to get people into your store.

There are multiple Wimbledon opportunities too. If you work in catering or hospitality then could you offer a ‘strawberries and cream’ special? With public screenings of big games around the country, could your business be there, advertising or selling?


Olympic Games 2016 [Friday 5th August – Sunday 21st August]

While the marketing regulations surrounding the Olympics are notoriously strict, don’t let that stop you. During London 2012, numerous local businesses organised sports events within their communities. You could do the same, collaborating with other local businesses to spread the workload and generate buzz – a good news story with a simple press release can do a lot to get your business noticed.

Rio will be about more than just the sport. The Spirit of Brazil will sweep the nation as it did for the 2014 World Cup – think Samba, Carnival, and capoeira for slightly more left-field ideas!


Halloween [Monday 31st October]

After the excitement of the summer has long faded, Halloween offers pure fun. Many businesses will decorate their premises in a spooky fashion – try to make your window display the best on the street. It could become a talking point, and the photos will make great content for social media – snap, upload and ask your customers to do the same on Instagram or Twitter.


Black Friday [25th November / Cyber Monday 28th November) / Manic Monday 5th December]

It’s the most important period of the retail calendar and the pre-Christmas rush can see huge sales spikes. Preparation is the key. Assess sales figures from previous years to calculate stock needed, and ensure you have enough staff who are willing to work extra hours (if necessary). When it comes to ecommerce, ensure your website is ready for increased traffic.

Planning to make the most of one or more of these events? Sage Business Expert Joanna Wake shares her tips to creating timely social campaigns. Read Joanna’s eight step guide to seasonal social media success.