Iwould usually be one of the last people to talk about how many shopping days there are before Christmas.
Particularly, as we are currently enjoying a warm and lingering summer and the festive season is months away.
But this is a call to action from the Federation of Small Businesses in readiness for the first ever Small Business Saturday in the UK – December 7.
The day aims to boost trade for locally-owned independent businesses and to encourage all of us to think local when we're shopping.
In the USA, the idea was initiated by American Express and reportedly the smaller shops have their best day of trade all year on Small Business Saturday.
Our Shadow Secretary of State for Business Innovation and Skills, Chuka Umunna, thought it would be a good idea to try a similar activity here and the FSB agrees as it fits well with our current Keep Trade Local campaign. Several other business organisations supporting it as is the Prime Minister and many other prominent people.
So, we're encouraging everyone to get involved in some way and let us know what you have planned by e-mailing david.thorpe@ fsb.org.uk
A special Facebook page has been set up to gather news and views and that is at www.facebook.com/Small BusinessSaturdayUK
Remember to mention your town or village name and Lincolnshire when posting.
Our county and district authorities are crucial in bringing local community activities to life. There is no set formula for success.
In fact, different ideas in various localities will add value to the day.
Councils may wish to consider reducing or completely removing car parking charges on Small Business Saturday as it is known that high parking charges do deter drivers from shopping locally. Businesses may also want to consider special promotions or competitions to attract trade. The Small Business Saturday and the Keep Trade Local logos are available from the FSB so that shop window signs can be printed out and displayed to promote the event.
Retailers can prepare by ensuring that window displays are fresh and allow customers to see what the shop has to offer.
Make sure that shop fronts give a fantastic image and that merchandising techniques showcase your products and services in the best possible way.
Most importantly, our staff should be on hand to ensure the customers have a buying experience to exceed their expectations and leave them wanting to make a return visit. Doug Balderson, regional chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, said: "We are supporting Small Business Saturday UK and invite all other business organisations and anyone connected with small and medium enterprises to do the same.
"By raising awareness across the region it will encourage the community to spend at least some of their money with locally owned businesses and therefore boost the local economy.
"The long-running Keep Trade Local campaign asks councils and other small businesses to help independent shops prosper.
"Small Business Saturday UK is a good way to get the message across to customers that using independent businesses does benefit the local economy.
"In fact, without our support, these important drivers and suppliers of goods and services in our daily lives may just disappear"