Extra budget: It's a great problem to have, but a problem nonetheless.
Some budgets are the use-it-or-lose-it kind -- so if you don't spend it now, you're not going to have it next quarter. Other budgets will let you roll over extra budget, but if your executive team sees that you're not using that extra budget, you could lose it anyway.
At the same time, you don't want to just recklessly buy junk to spend your budget -- your boss won't like seeing hundreds of dollars go to random purchase that have nothing to do with your business. So if you're going to try to spend some of your budget before the end of the year kicks in, you've got to be strategic.
To help you figure out what to do with your leftover cash, here are 20 things you can buy right now that'll make your team and boss happy. We've included a range of ideas that could fit budgets of different sizes. So read on and get buying!
1) Content subscriptions
Most times during the year, it's really hard to justify buying content. But if you have some leftover cash, you could purchase content subscriptions to publications like eMarketer or even mainstream media sites like The Wall Street Journal for the team. Your teammates will be smarter in the long run for it.
2) Video equipment
Looking to get started with video but don't have the right equipment? Buy a tripod, camera, lense, and/or lighting material with your extra cash. Our friends at Wistia can recommend some tools to buy here.
3) Professional team headshots
Each member of your team reflects your company's brand and its values ... so don't you want them to look good? Tell your teammates to wear their Sunday best, and then hire a photographer to come to the office to take their closeup. Your teammates will be thrilled to finally remove that selfie they've been using on their LinkedIn profile for the past few years.
4) Extra Mac adaptors
The worst feeling as a presentor is to get to your speaking gig with a Mac, only to find out that there aren't any adaptors available. Our suggested solition? Get a few extra for your conference rooms or for people who speak frequently elswhere to keep with them.
5) Evernote for Business
I'm a huge Evernote fan (hey, I even wrote a blog post using it). I love organizing my day there as well as brainstorming new content ideas. My colleagues have started using the Business version and it's even better because you can collaborate with other people on all of your notes. Definitely worth the $10/month/person price.
6) Promote your account on Twitter for the day
If you want get more followers and leads through Twitter, and have some extra budget lying around, try promoting your account for a day. If the experiment works, maybe you can roll out more Twitter advertising to support your monthly goals.
Are you or your teammates Chrome users who send a lot of email? Try out Signals, a Chrome extension that'll alert you when your email recipients open and click on your emails. You can get a personal version for free, or shell out $10/month/user for a more robust experience.
8) Adobe Creative Cloud
Working without design software is something we cater to all of the time on this blog -- but when you have the chance to buy creative software, do it. Adobe Creative Cloud, which includes things like Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator, is an amazing resource for even the most beginner designer.
9) Mophie external battery
This is definitely one of those "nice-to-haves" if you're running social media, events, or pretty much doing anything requiring you to be accessible most hours of the day. This external battery will fully charge your phone when you're out of juice -- all without adding much weight or bulk to your phone.
10) Class reimbursement
Regardless of what position you hold at your company, we all need to brush up on our marketing skills. Try purchasing classses from places like Codecademy,Skillshare, and your local continuing ed classes to keep yourself at the top of your game.
11) Marketing books
Along the personal development vein, you can also buy marketing-related books for your team to help everyone brush up on the latest trends. If you need help picking books to buy, check out a few 5-minute overviews of some top marketing books.
12) Marketing templates
Templates can greatly cut down on the time it takes to create and publish a piece of marketing material -- whether it's a blog layout, email, ebook, or landing page. Of course you don't always have to pay for them (we offer a bunch of these for free), but sometimes, it's worth shelling out some cash to make them tailored to your business.
If you have a larger budget, think about getting your team phones. If you have lots of budget to slice, look into getting a personal smartphone for each person. You can justify it this way: It'll be easier to communicate with them when they're on-the-go.
If you're on the road a lot, this is a luxury that you won't ever want to give up. They are way easier to carry around than a laptop and quite helpful if you're going to be giving presentations. Bonus: You can use it in the office to test out your marketing on a new device.
16) Business cards
Some people argue that business cards are dead ... but they're still quite important to have when networking. They're also pretty cheap and won't take more than a few hours to order for the whole team. There are lots of places you can order them from, but I'm pretty partial to Moo.
17) Slide clickers
If you or someone on your team is giving presentations frequently, a slide clicker can be a lifesaver. And if you have the extra cash, you can get one with a laser pointer integrated.
18) WiFi hotspot
It's frustrating to go to a conference or business trip and not have WiFi access. If that happens to you or team quite frequently, it might be time to invest in a WiFi hotspot -- you just plug in a USB into your computer, and you have internet access.
19) Laptop chargers
This is a very-nice-to-have bonus, but one that your team will love: separate laptop chargers for home and for work. They're a pain to haul -- especially if your teammates aren't driving to work -- so knowing that you will always have access to one will be a lifesaver.
20) Team outing
Last, but certainly not least, you can just take your team out for a nice outing. Maybe grab dinner, go bowling, or even have a night out at the bar. Whatever helps your team relax after a year of hard work and gear up for the next!