Marketing and communications staffers keep a lot of projects moving—keep your eye on these important but easy-to-miss tasks
If you are like every other professional I know, your marketing and communications schedules and deadlines are crazy as you try to get all the plates you’re still spinning stacked neatly in the cupboard labeled ‘2016.’
Whether you’re a freelancer or a full-blown agency, here’s a tip list of the top 10 easy-to-forget tasks that can slow you down and cost you money next year:
- Have you added or lost employees? Be sure you update your multi-user software agreements so you’re not paying for user seats not in use, or upgrade to add more user seats to your plan.
- Speaking of software, did you change from one tool to another in 2016? If so, did you cancel the old software and confirm you’re no longer paying for it? Double check to be sure you’re not spending money needlessly. Also ensure you’re working with the latest version of your software. For instance, on Macs, you can’t upgrade after a certain point and need to move to Adobe’s DC suite of cloud-based products.
- Review the brand standard guidelines of your client companies and your own. The longer it’s been since you reviewed them, the more likely that bias—your interpretation of the guidelines—will start to overlay the actual guidelines in your mind, and that can lead to problems. You should revisit brand guidelines every 6 months or so to ensure you’re compliant.
- Do you have your most current E-Verify documentation if you work with the government or hope to? It’s a must, as is any other specialized documentation you’ll need to do business. Remember, some certifications, like women-owned business certifications, take a couple of months and some record-gathering to renew.
- If you haven’t already, review your team’s busiest and slowest workflow trends over the past few years. If you’re a new company, ask peers in the same industry what their workflow experience is—chances are, they’ll be similar. Then create your vacation/on-the-road calendar accordingly, knowing what you’ll need and when (e.g., accrual reports at the end of each month, client quarterly update schedules, etc.). Just like the seasons, those needs will likely come again next year.
- Check your subscriptions to online and hard copy professional publications. Perhaps you subscribed to one newsletter to keep up on trends for a client that’s changed direction, or you get a professional periodical you never seem to get around to reading. Bye-bye subscription, hello, savings (and bye-bye guilt, too.)
- Double check that your URLs are not coming due, or if the URL you really wanted for a project is now available, and pay for them before end of year if you have the budget.
- Clear the clutter! Nothing gets in the way of really getting ramped up than a desk or office space that’s cluttered from last year. This week often is the perfect time to square up and file away all 2016 documents in their proper place.
- Get involved in a professional group or two. Recruiting will begin with the new year, with many organizations offering discounts on membership or waiving registration fees. It’s never been more important to manage and grow your network as job titles shift, M&A events are on the rise or you may choose to change careers. More than making contacts, you may even make new friends. Shy? Recruit a couple of wingmen (or wing-women) to attend with you—you’ll strengthen those relationships even as you make new ones!
- Whatever happened in 2016, good or bad, it’s time to hit the reset button. Let go of office politics or that time someone talked over you. Work on creating the environment you want to go to every day. Had a terrific 2016? It never hurts to add new skills or insights, whether by joining a professional committee, serving on a board, adding a certification, or asking for a mentor.
The past year has been a wild ride for many folks I know. Be proactive about creating space for the unexpected by using these tips to take care of tricky little details now. It’s not only smart, you can go into 2017 fresh and ready to rock. Happy New Year!
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