2016 holiday schedule

Fall at last! It’s cooler, the leaves are turning and the end of the year is fast approaching. Here are a few vital dates for the remainder of the year and some tips to make the most of them.

  • Halloween jack-o-lanternsHalloween is Oct. 31, a Monday this year. If you have not yet dressed up your store — and maybe yourself and your employees, too — introduced seasonal items such as pumpkin cupcakes, beer or chai; rolled out scary good deals; or promised clients midnight madness specials (and in the process clear inventory to make space for the bigger holidays), it’s not too late. Find some great Halloween tips here.
  • casting a ballot on election dayGeneral Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 8, when we choose a new governor and president and vote for state and federal senators and representatives, judges and an array of state and local ballot measures. Conventional wisdom says Election Day is not a business sales opportunity. But whoever got ahead using conventional wisdom? For one example, why not host an Election Day promotion offering customers something free or at a reduced price if they can produce an “I Voted” sticker? Just be careful about offering your own political opinions. Customers flock to you for your service or merchandise, not politics.
  • Veteran’s Day is Friday, Nov. 11, a superb opportunity to honor those who served or still serve with specials and promotions. Are you a veteran but don’t know where to turn to start a business? See “Boots to Business Reboot,” below. Here are 11 other organizations that boost veterans’ businesses.
  • Small Business Saturday is Nov. 26, the small business alternative to Black Friday, Cyber Monday and, increasingly, Thanksgiving Day itself. Don’t know how to promote yourself? American Express, the day’s primary sponsor, offers ideas galore, posters, customizable flyers and posters.
    Shop here Small Business SaturdayThis year, American Express and America’s SBDC are also offering the Neighborhood Champion program to rally your community by throwing an event on Small Business Saturday. As a Neighborhood Champion, you will receive emails leading up to the day to help plan an event and get the community excited to Shop Small. Event ideas include a neighborhood kickoff breakfast, parade, welcome station, night out, scavenger hunt and selfie event. Participants will receive a Small Business Saturday Event Kit containing Shop Small merchandise including bags, balloons and other promotional materials. You must apply by Nov. 11 at ShopSmall.com/ASBDC
  • 2 dogs dressed up by the Christmas treeChanukah is Saturday Dec. 24, Christmas is Sunday Dec. 25 and Kwanzaa begins Monday, Dec. 26. Can’t think of any exciting new holiday promotions? Here are a few holiday ideas.
  • New Year’s Eve, Dec. 31, falls on a Saturday this year — very good news for nightspots and any business that can stay open late.

And these are just the more celebrated holidays. There’s also All Saint’s Day (Nov. 1), Guy Fawkes Day (Nov. 5), Pearl Harbor Day (Dec. 7), Bill of Rights Day (Dec. 15), the Winter Solstice (Dec. 21, the shortest day of the year) and Boxing Day (Dec. 26). For more holidays, see holidayinsights.com/moreholidays.

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