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A look back over 2019 and a new plan for 2020

A picture of a business calendar planning ahead for 2020

A simple method of reviewing your business year

End of year review
Many of us are reluctant to consider the years end until it’s been and gone. This is mainly due to the busyness of the Christmas period. But it's worth taking some time to review the business year when it's at the forefront of your mind.

Once Christmas is over and the New Year begins you will find yourself at the beginning of a new calendar. A fresh start, where pledges are made to fulfil goals and resolutions to do better. However, by taking an honest look at your achievements and your failures you may find that there are goals from 2018, possibly 2017 that still haven’t been realised.

But it’s never too late to add these to the coming year if you feel they are still relevant to your business. To help prepare for the coming year its helpful to build a calendar marking down the important days for your business. Whilst its unrealistic to plan a whole twelve months, it’s worth considering the whole year in its entirety, even if you just make notes against the latter months.

Calendar 2020
Here are key dates relating to special days, events, holiday, seasons, hashtags and important deadlines to add to your calendar. Whilst each one may not be relevant to your business they are classed as trending topics that if utilised could help your SEO, social pages and expand your blogging topics.

It seems a cold irony that your first task is to stress about submitting your tax return. And although this may seem daunting most business owners find this process useful to review the past tax period to assess their company's finances and plan ahead.

As well as the Tax Return you will have to meet other tax obligations such as filing your End of Year, paying Corporation Tax and reconciling accounts and VAT. So, get prepared and add the relevant dates to your calendar.

31st January – Online Tax Return deadline where you are required to submit your personal and business tax return from the previous year. Failure to meet this date could cause you to face penalties. Most businesses use accountants who will provide a list of information they need to submit returns on time.

During the calendar year we observe and celebrate special days. These days are useful to note and can be very effective as marketing opportunities for your business. Some may even have an impact on your business operations.

25th January – in 2020 over two billion people will acknowledge Chinese New Year, the year of the Rat. That’s over a quarter of the world’s population so it's no wonder that this will affect supply chains, outsourcing, manufacturing, production, shipping and travel.

14th February - love it or loath it, Valentine’s day is a very profitable holiday for businesses. The hashtag alone will reach an audience of millions of people. Write a blog that provides interesting facts about why people have mixed feelings about this day.

25th February - Shrove Tuesday or as most people call it pancake day. A fun day for businesses and families. Share your favourite pancake toppings or hold a contest in the office of who can eat the most in a given timeframe.

17th March & 23rd April - St Patricks Day is a very popular day with widely appreciated events, parades and trips to the pub on 17th of March. In pale comparison St Georges Day, 23rd April receives a shrug by most even though events do take place throughout the UK.

22nd March - Mothering Sunday a day to stop, praise and reflect for all Mums past and present. Note that this day relates to the UK, other countries celebrate Mother’s day at different times. In 2019 Mother's Day spending was forecasted to reach £1.6 bn. So not to discredit Dads, Father’s Day will be on 21st June.

21st April – the first of two birthdays celebrated by the Queen. The date in April is the Queens actual birth date when she will turn 94 in 2020. And on the second Saturday of June the Queen marks her official birthday with the Trooping of the Colour and a parade in London. On this day the Queen also recognises people from all walks of life on her honours list.

31st October – Halloween is the 3rd biggest retail day of the year. In 2018 this day reached a spend of £419m with this expected to have increased in 2019. A festival that is celebrated by millions of people across the year spending an average of £42 per family on costumes, decorations, food and parties.

8th to 11th November - Remembrance takes place for those lost in wars since World War 1. This is marked by two dates, Sunday 8th November, Remembrance Day and 11th November Armistice Day. Most businesses will observe the national 2-minute silence that takes place at 11.11am on the 11th day of November, the 11th month. Encourage your staff to buy a poppy to support charities.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are two events that are too big to ignore, even if you aren't part of the retail sector. There are plenty of opportunities to promote sales, offers and discounts during this period to stand out from your competitors.

27th November - Black Friday once a US shopping tradition that commences the day after Thanks Giving has made its way to the UK over the past few years. It marks the day when retailers apply heavy discounts to goods and products to encourage shoppers to buy for Christmas.

30th November - Cyber Monday has become the online version of Black Friday. Most businesses extend their promotions from the Friday to the Monday giving shoppers plenty of time to soak up offers ready for the festive period.

The UK holidays are spread throughout the year and unlike some countries we can be thankful that they are relatively short. The best advice for businesses is to manage staff expectations by releasing the holiday procedure as early as possible, this will help business owners to manage absences and staff disappointment.

April 10th to 13th - Easter holidays, a religious holiday in the Christian world but one that is equally celebrated by Children awaiting the Easter Bunny to deliver delicious chocolate Easter eggs.

May 8th, May 25th & Aug 31st - classed as Bank Holidays. Each year in the UK we are treated to longer weekends. Whilst this is not counted as a day off for many businesses it is still a day that will have an effect on your business.

July to August – the dreaded summer holidays for most working parents. Six weeks of rescheduling work commitments, arranging childcare and money worries over affording a holiday when the prices are tripled. An understanding boss can go a long way to making this period manageable. Our European neighbours tend to take longer time away from the office during the summer months so be prepared for some disruptions to your business.

25th December – although Christmas Day takes place on one day, the Christmas period can start as early as October. Most companies start their deliberations in July to ensure they can take advantage of this highest grossing holiday. Consider the positives and negatives you have recently experienced and factor these into your planning for 2020.

Many of us look forward to the change of the clocks especially in March but some are still baffled as to what takes place and when. An easy way to remember this is to say that in 2020 on the 29th March the clocks will 'spring forward' and on the 25th October the clocks will 'fall back'. This does affect time zones so check online to see how the new time may alter the clocks in different countries.

Other interesting changes that relate to the four seasons are the equinox and the solstice, both taking place twice a year. In 2020 the summer solstice takes place on 20th June giving us the longest day of the year and the start of summer whereas on the 22nd December, will be the shortest day of the year and the start of Winter. This is due to the Earths positioning to the equator at a point where the sun is closest and furthest apart.

Whereas the equinox marks the time when the sun is exactly parallel to the equator giving day and night equal length. The Vernal equinox on the 20th March will mark the start of spring and the Autumnal equinox takes place on 22nd September marks the start of autumn.

Hashtags and National Awareness Days
As well as the dates listed above each month has its own special awareness days. From take your dog to work day, to dry January and World Mental Health Day there are plenty of marketing opportunities. Try researching the months in advance to decide which days might be beneficial to your business.

As well as awareness days hashtags are available for every occasion. The benefits of using hashtags in your social media posts should not be underestimated. By applying this easy to use marketing tool your messages and campaigns could be in front of much bigger audiences which helps engagement and sharing. Use trending hashtags to gain extra followers or create your own.

Creating a calendar at the start of the year will help you to plan ahead. This is not a complicated task and one that can be effectively done using an excel spreadsheet. We strongly advise that you plan at least 8 weeks in advance to ensure you have the days, events, holidays covered for your business.

This simple method of organising will provide you with a structured process for both forward planning and looking back to accomplish your end of year review. By studying key dates and interesting days you might find you can apply different approaches to your marketing which improves your business throughout the year and into the next.

Whilst we have made every effort to ensure these dates are correct, if you spot a mistake please get in touch.

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