Best Collaboration Tools: Small Businesses

work collaboration workingCollaboration tools can be as simple as shared spreadsheets used for recordkeeping to massive project management solutions. If you’re a small business owner, the complexity and scope of the tools that you employ to keep your employees and your balance sheets in check depend on budgets, personnel and logistics. Do you have enough money allocated to purchase an entirely new software for collaboration? Are there enough employees at your company to justify adoption? Do the logistics make sense?

There are a bevy of SMB collaboration tools that can be tailored for different projects and budgets. While some have broad applications that can benefit businesses of all sizes, others are ideal for teams in specific industries and with specific capabilities. Here’s a rundown of a few of the best collaboration tools that SMBs should take advantage of, who they benefit and how they could be improved upon.

Slack for Unified Messaging

Slack is a cross between a messaging app and a file-sharing tool. It allows you to create “channels” where you manage communications between team members working on different projects. Once the team has been created, Slack will integrate with other apps like Google Drive and Dropbox to share workloads saved on these other channels among the team. This allows you to organize conversations and documents associated with different projects so that information doesn’t get lost in the shuffle.

While Slack is great for keeping teams organized, there have been complaints from users since its inception that it serves as a lackluster messaging system, as new messages have a tendency to fall under the radar.

Trello for Project Management

Trello is a relatively simple project management tool that organizes tasks into columns. Within these columns are individual cards that represent a new task related either to the user in the column or the project being completed, with deadlines assigned accordingly.

While it requires almost no training or uptime to implement, it is almost too simple and rudimentary to effectively keep all team members on task for certain large-scale projects. There is no calendar attachment and no space to create new documents that users can modify collaboratively.

WebEx for Online Meetings

Very few businesses can function without an online meeting tool, and Cisco offers a free one through its WebEx platform. This provides  real-time, face-to-face HD video and audio, screen share, commenting, annotation and chat features. You can also record meetings on WebEx to review later or share with other team members.

The downside for is that WebEx converts uploaded video to a compressed but proprietary format, which requires a media converter or special viewer application to access. While the compression of these files is high and often worth the inconvenience, it’s an unnecessary extra step that might not be worth the time for very small businesses.

Fasetto for Unified and Offline Management

Fasetto offers a solution that marries all of the benefits of the aforementioned collaboration tools but gives growing organizations the flexibility to collaborate from anywhere offline on Windows Phone and Android and store a multitude of files privately. The app offers a safer messaging channel than traditional SMS and allows teams to collaborate without an internet connection, which is vital for small businesses that either have distant branch offices or require employees to visit locations outside of the WAN.

While Slack and Dropbox may allow you to share and organize documents, Fasetto can do this without being restricted by the logistical restraints that often inform major business decisions. For small businesses, getting your teams to collaborate with Fasetto from the outset will only enable greater collaboration as the company grows.

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