Since opening our shop more than seven years ago, I have always wanted to sell flowers, but the fact that they die quickly has always made it difficult for me.

That all changed a few weeks ago when a young entrepreneurial florist from a neighbouring village offered to supply fresh flowers daily on a sale-or-return basis. I jumped at the opportunity and have since had lovely flower displays at the entrance to my store every day.

She gives me 25% of everything we sell and, so far, we have been selling around £250 of flowers per week. This is a great arrangement as I get to beautify my shop, offer quality flowers and enjoy a lovely aroma all day long, and she gets a new customer.

With an uncertain economic future looming, it struck me that many people could learn from her example and take a risk at being an entrepreneur.

It may be that they are good at crafts or they are a carpenter making planters and the like. It does not matter what their particular speciality is, if they offer me a quality product on a sale-or-return basis, I will market it for them every time.

This is localisation at its best; neighbours helping neighbours to prosper even in dark times. It even helps differentiate your shop from those around you and creates buckets of good will from everyone associated with all parties.

The key to success with local goods and services is sale or return. As a shop owner, you cannot be expected to take the financial risk of paying for stock up front. That risk must be taken by the producer. If they have a quality product and believe in themselves, this should not be a problem.

Apart from flowers, other local products we have supplied on a sale-or-return basis are jams and preserves, CDs by a local artist, sausages, apple juice, greeting cards and eggs.

Don’t forget, they are getting 75% of every product you sell for them.