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Commercial savvy: what small businesses can learn from this year’s Christmas ads

Season’s greetings! The ad breaks are packed with festive promotions at the moment, but are there any business tips hidden amongst the tinsel?

We’ve given a few favourites from this year’s Christmas ads some thought to see what can be learnt from them. So grab a blanket and some spiced tea (or mulled wine, if it’s that time of day) and let’s get watching…

Perseverance pays off 🎄

Arguably this year’s most charming ad, the Heathrow bears keep stealing glances at each other at the airport. After lots of shyness and missed opportunities, they eventually forge a connection over some duty free shortbread. Their perseverance (and willingness to keep buying shortbread) pays off - and we finally see them grow older together, along with their blossoming family of well dressed little bears.

Small businesses can definitely stand to take a leaf out of the bears’ books - a determined mindset pays off when it comes to business relationships. Make a decided effort to stay in touch with your clientbase, as well as putting in ample time with prospective clients too. If you decide to go the extra mile and give them a Christmas gift, check out our guide to claiming tax relief on Christmas expenses.

Know when to take a break 🎁

This whimsical ad by John Lewis shows a young boy becoming great friends with a monster called Moz living under his bed. They start to play together all night, every night - until the boy starts to lose out on sleep and becomes tired all the time. Moz feels guilty for wearing out his new pal, and hides a snow globe nightlight under the Christmas tree, allowing the little boy to sleep soundly whenever he turns it on, and play with Moz again whenever he turns it off.

As a small business owner it can be easy to work long hours and wear yourself out, especially when deadlines are looming. Make sure you have your own ‘night light’ (or at least give yourself a break before you start snoozing at your desk) by weaving small breaks into your working day or taking a full on digital detox.

Protect yourself 🎅🏼

Paddington Bear is back and he’s pitching in to help Marks & Spencer with their Christmas creative. Mistaking a white-bearded robber for Santa Claus, the kindly old bear helps the robber ‘deliver’ some stolen parcels back to their rightful owners. Touched by Paddington’s kind gesture, the burglar tearfully wishes him farewell, sensing the error of his ways.

As well as pointing out the obvious downsides to a life of crime, this ad can teach small businesses the importance of watching out for untrustworthy characters. Help to protect yourself from any potential late payers by building T & Cs into your invoices, and if you do encounter any problems, find out the lowdown on taking legal action against clients who just won’t pay.

Make your own community! 🎁

Not known for having the most memorable of Christmas ads, Waitrose have made a surprisingly decent effort this year. Some festive revellers enjoying a Christmas Eve beverage in their local pub get snowed in and have to make Christmas dinner together - starting off as strangers and becoming firm friends.

Freelancers can sometimes find themselves having a comparatively isolated work life, without the hubbub of an office to work from every day. For this reason, it’s a great idea to make the effort to find other freelancers in your community - whether through going to local meetups like Creative Mornings or joining an online community like Freelance Heroes.

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