Following on from my last column where I discussed how I was taking advantage of great weather, barbecue season and our health and beauty range over the summer, it’s important to understand what further opportunities lie ahead of us.

The summer bank holiday is behind us and the children are now back at school, so I’ve taken the opportunity to look at the wider picture, reflect on what has worked well for us and worked out what lessons we can learn for next year.

We recently supported a ‘Fun Fest’ that was held in our local area. It was the first time this particular family festival day was held.

We looked at what worked well and have taken the lessons not only from the event itself and how we were involved in it, but also from the relationships we built through it.

We aim to forge more relationships with key stakeholders so we can grow with the event as it grows in future years.

Keep your eyes open for local events in your community and gear your store up to support them.

Get involved in village fetes, fun fairs that may be held locally, or even charity events where you can gain free PR by helping them out.

It is essential that retailers remain profitable in these tough times with competition from the multiples.

Looking ahead, we are really going to capitalise on both Halloween and Christmas. Every independent retailer should be focusing on getting these occasions and other events right in their shops.

Shout about your offers in your store, talk to your customers, have trick or treat buckets filled with sweets to get people excited about Halloween, and create excitement around Black Friday on November 24.

We need to engage with our customer base and exploit any opportunities that lie ahead of us.