The Best Team Collaboration Software for Small Businesses

Spike Team
By Spike Team, October 04, 2019, 15 min read
Team Collaboration Software for Small Businesses

Updated on Dec 7th, 2022
 
You know what they say, two heads are better than one. But maybe that should be three, or four. Hell…let’s just call it five or more. In truth, regardless of how many bright sparks and creative souls your team is comprised of, company collaboration brings with it a whole host of benefits. It provides increased flexibility to your organization, helps engage employees and foster healthier working environments, and can even bring about the next revolutionary idea that will push your company ahead of the curve.

 

There’s no denying it. Collaboration is the lifeblood of successful companies.

 

However, ensuring everyone is on the same page when it comes to collaborative work can sometimes seem more of a hassle than it’s worth. Managing projects across multiple teams, both in-office and remote, takes organization and planning. It also takes a little help from the best team collaboration tools on the market.

 

So, for start-ups and small businesses everywhere, Spike’s here to point you in the right direction with a rundown of the best team collaboration software available on the market. Read on to learn about the pros and cons of each platform and discover the best team app for your needs.

 

SpikeBest Collaboration App for Seamless Communication

 

 

Sometimes, less is more, and Spike is the perfect team collaboration tool for your small business. For teams that need to regularly communicate and keep up with project calendars, Spike has everything you need integrated into a single app, on a single screen, providing an incredible unified workspace. You can use it alongside your favorite team tool from our list, or simply manage everything directly from within Spike. All you need is an email.

Pros:

  • Featuring Conversational Email that balances the best of email and instant messaging, quick and easy-to-manage groups that bring you and your team together, organizing separate projects to share your big ideas, your tight schedule, and your important files, Spike is a small business tool with big benefits.

  • Unlike some small business tools it delivers the perfect mix of synchronous and asynchronous communication methods, meaning you can chat when you want and focus when you don’t. It also packs in a calendar that can be easily shared with team members, integration with popular cloud storage services such as Google Drive and DropBox, and powerful file management and search features.

Cons:

  • Since spike combines email and productivity tools in new and exciting ways, your small business team may take a little while to adjust to a more efficient way of working. However, Spike’s Help Center has all the information you need to master the art of 21st century email and help your team boost productivity.

Price:

  • Spike is free for personal use and has a simplified pricing structure for small businesses. Simply pay $5 per user/per month for up to 3 email addresses and 5GB storage or $10 per user/per month for unlimited email addresses and 20GB storage.

Other Features:

  • Other features include the capacity to organize and curate video meetings directly from your inbox, Online Notes, Tasks and To-Do Lists, as well as convenient voice messages that can be sent in the same you would send them on your phone. Finally, Spike’s powerful Priority Email Inbox sorts all your non-essential emails and places them in a separate “Other” inbox to keep everything you need front and centre and everything you don’t filed away for later.

Use a unified workspace with a team chat and more

monday.com – Best Collaboration App for Workflow Management

 

Monday

 
Beginning life as Wix’s in-house project management tool, monday.com’s potential as a piece of standalone project collaboration software was soon recognized. One of the platforms most popular features is its broad range of project templates, meaning getting your projects up and running at your small business is a breeze.

 

Pros:

  • By selecting a use case or workflow, customize it to iron out the finer details, invite your team to join through email, and collaborate through a centralized dashboard that takes care of all your conversations, files, briefs, checklists, and sheets. Everything is highly visual and managing your projects once they are up and running is very intuitive.

Cons:

  • Some users find the lack of comprehensive resource management and more detailed scheduling features are turn off. Additionally automating task dependencies requires its own separate column that can clutter up the board and, if edited accidentally, will render your automations useless. Finally, monday.com’s success depends on your ability to set a workflow that everyone can agree on.

Price:

  • Free trials are available for monday.com, however, once your trial is over, the Basic package begins at $39/month. Moving up the scale, monday.com offers a Standard plan, Pro plan, and Enterprise plan for the largest organizations. Unlimited users and boards come with all the packages, so it’s up to you to decide exactly what kind of functionality you need.

Other Freatures:

  • Time-tracking capabilities are built-in, which is an excellent feature for small businesses with tight deadlines. Additionally, there are multiple ways to generate reports and visualize data, with monday.com delivering kanban, card view, form view, files view or table view options.

 

Zoho Projects ­- Best Visual Collaboration App for Planning 

 

Zoho

 
Zoho Projects is one part of a much larger suite of tools that provide comprehensive integration with everything from CRM to invoicing platforms. It’s among the best collaboration tools for small business teams who need to work together on specific projects but also liaise with other departments for a truly holistic approach to company collaboration.

 

Pros:

  • The timeline-based project management tool allows you to visually plan, track, and monitor projects with ease, and while it may not be as attractive as some of the other apps on this list, it has plenty of advanced features to offer. Create task lists and milestones, get in-depth insights with Gantt charts, and track time for both billable and non-billable hours which can then be integrated directly with Zoho Invoice.

Cons:

  • For small businesses in particular, accessing the entire Zoho suite can be expensive, and limited customer support for integrating the different apps can slow down productivity. Additionally, setting up Zoho for your specific business needs usually requires lots of customisation, and with changing needs, constant alterations to your workflows.

Price:

  • Zoho Projects offers a 10-day free trial, and its standard package is priced competitively, with ten projects and ten users available for $18/mo. Zoho Projects’ remaining plans include Express, with unlimited projects and 15 users; Premium, with unlimited projects and 20 users; and Enterprise, with unlimited projects and 25 users.

Other Features:

  • Excellent for small businesses who use email marketing, Zoho packs form builder and email automation tools together for lead generation and nurturing. Marketing and sales automation tools are also available, making it easy to follow up on leads and move contacts along the board as they reach closure.

Asana – Best Collaboration App for Project Tracking

Asana

As one of the most well-established team collaboration tools on our list, Asana has won plenty of fans over the years. In fact, it’s used by some of the biggest companies in the world, including Uber and Intel to name a few. It packs plenty of useful features into a relatively intuitive interface and dashboard, while also integrating third-party apps such as Google Drive and Microsoft teams.

 

Pros:

  • Asana allows small businesses to set up projects, add individual tasks assigned to specific team members, manage multiple projects across your calendar, and easily share information with the right people. Additionally, project tracking tools such as custom timeline management, visualized workflows, deadline management, and custom key metric fields help you and your team monitor your collaborations in new and insightful ways.

Cons:

  • For small businesses that are growing fast, Asana can quickly become expensive, and new users often have trouble understanding the interface which could hit productivity. Additionally, Asana is often cited as a poor choice for small businesses, as it is packed with features aimed at much larger enterprises. Finally, a lack of time tracking feels like a bit of an oversight for an app such as Asana.

Price:

  • For basic users, Asana is completely free, although the entry-level package is a pared down version of the paid packages. For more advanced users and larger teams, pricing scales through three separate plans; Premium ($10.99 per user/per month), Business ($24.99 per user/per month), and Enterprise (pricing on request).

Other Features:

  • Asana is secure and for projects, employees, and customers, with the dashboard allowing you to monitor actions for team members and projects easily and without fear of data breaches. You also have the option to invite different people into a workspaces where they can collaborate, ensuring you can easily keep an overview of different projects assigned to to different teams.

 

Trello – Best Collaboration App for Web-Based Teams

Trello

Trello is completely web based, so for teams that are spread across continents and who rely on different technologies (think Mac, Windows, Linux, and mobile integrations), it’s among the very best piece of online collaboration software around. The dashboard itself is based around the Kanban methodology, employing boards, lists, and cards with drag-and-drop functionality to help you manage your projects.

 

Pros:

  • The highly visual approach to project management and collaboration is easy to set up and offers integration with the most popular third-party apps available today. It also syncs seamlessly across all of your devices, allowing you to add comments, attachments, due dates, and much more from wherever you are working.

Cons:

  • Trello doesn’t have time tracking built in, but it can be added with the use of third-party apps. Additionally, there are only limited views and communication within the app itself is not the most intuitive or practical. Finally, Trello is vest used for general project management and if you need a deeper level of tracking and reporting then there are other options more suited for small businesses.

Price:

  • Trello offers a completely free option that includes unlimited personal boards, cards, and lists along with ten team boards. Both the Business Class and Enterprise packages cater to larger teams and include a range of advanced features not found in the entry level packages. These two advanced plans are priced at $9.99 and $20.83 (for 100 users) respectively.

Other Features:

  • Customizable card templates, color coding, date and time deadlines, and a wealth of add-on apps that can be used to extend Trello’s functionality make it an extremely versatile choice for small businesses that need a simple and intuitive Kanban board.

Wrike – Best Collaboration App for Small Businesses

Wrike

Wrike is another web-based collaboration tool for businesses that provides a blank canvas that allows you to organize your team by folders, projects, and tasks, with drag-and-drop functionalities and a handy timeline to keep an overview of everything that’s in progress. The top-end packages also include streams and time logs alongside advanced analytics and Gantt charts to help you monitor progress.

 

Pros:

  • Collaborating with your team is achieved through commenting on specific tasks and through the integrated inbox where you can hold more in-depth discussions. Additionally, the intuitive interface ensures you can easily set and move priorities as the nature of your project develops, allowing you to keep everyone in the loop and work towards the same goal.

Cons:

  • Wrike is another app for small businesses that has a sharp learning curve, and while the dashboard my appear clean and easy to read, the UI behind it can be confusing, and onboarding new users can be a pain. Additionally, a lack of filtering options, can slow workflows when you require specific information on a project or its various elements.

Price:

  • Wrike offers a free option for five or fewer users, which is ideal for most small businesses, alongside a host of other packages for five to unlimited users. At the top of the scale, both the Enterprise and Pinnacle (price on request) packages offer tailor-made solutions for larger teams, while both the Team ($9.80 per user/per month) and the Business ($24.80 per user/per month) are perfect for smaller businesses.

Other Features:

  • Wrike is robust and users report that the excellent customer service team answers questions or solves problems verry quickly. Additionally, Wrike offers a broad range of integrations with the most popular apps around, including everything from the Google range to specialist app such as MS Excel and Salesforce.

 

Podio Best Collaboration App for Mobile Teams

Padio

Podio works across web and mobile, which means it’s among the best collaboration tools for teams that are working remotely or who manage projects from a mobile device. The quality of the Podio app is second-to-none when it comes to project management, and you can easily collaborate from the small screen of your mobile phone.

 

Pros:

  • The spine of the Podio tool brings together content creation, conversations, and structured processes that allow teams to easily work together on projects and clearly define individual roles. Meeting scheduling and task management are among the most popular parts of the tool; however, social collaboration features and the integrated calendar are also very useful.

Cons:

  • Podio sometimes suffers thanks to a sparse template library that can slow things down, although third-party integrations can bring you more choice, Additionally, automated workflows are only available on the Plus plan, which provides basic functionality, with the Premium plan offering advanced workflow features.

Price:

  • Podio is free for up to five users, while the Basic plan, Plus plan, and the Premium plan offer unlimited users. Prices for these packages range from $9 to $24/mo and integrate plenty of advanced features such as automated workflows, visual reporting, interactive sales dashboards, and read-only access to files and content.

Other Features:

  • The publicly available API allows developers to customize Podio functions, which is a huge bonus for more advanced users. Additionally, the analytics and reporting features are extensive, providing task completion times, number of tasks are assigned to individuals or teams, whether your deliverables are meeting expectations, and project budget details.

 

Troop Messenger – Best Collaboration App for Desktop Sharing

Troop

Troop Messenger brings seamless collaboration through a suite of tools designed to provide the ultimate in connectivity for teams spread across varied locations. Focusing on small business communications it allows manager and team members to stay connected, share ideas, and work together without the need for multiple tools.

 

Pros:

  • Based around a compact chat app that allows instant communication between groups and individuals, Troop ensures everyone is on the same page through practical file sharing and 50GB of free storage among its many other features.

  • The app is particularly useful for teams collaborating on visual projects, and its real-time screen sharing is a great feature for discussing the finer points relating to graphics, images, or even PowerPoint presentations. Simply connect one-on-one or with a group to share your desktop and work together to make your vision a reality

Cons:

  • At the time of writing, support for integrations is limited, meaning the Troop system is pretty closed for small businesses that use a variety of popular apps. Additionally, as a new small business tool, the app is constantly developing new features that may or may not function optimally, however, over time these issues should become less prevalent.

Price:

  • Troop’s pricing structure starts at a dollar per month, per user, in its Premium package and rises to $5 per use, per month for its Self-Hosting package that’s designed for the largest organizations. As one of the newest apps on our list, Troop also has a bunch of upcoming features that will make your collaborations effortless. Stay tuned.

Other Features:

  • A little like Slack, Troop works as a messenger and activity tracker, so you can expect similar alters and notifications, a news feed and activity dashboard. API integration is also available for more advanced users looking to make Troop fit their specific small business needs.

 

Elium – Best Collaboration App for Easy Access to Information

Elium

 
Elium prides itself on cutting out the need for team members and managers to spend hours searching for the information they need to perform their job. The app aims to provide a secure and flexible dashboard that streamlines decision making, improves collaboration, and boost innovation across the board.

 

Pros:

  • Elium is built around the concept of knowledge sharing, breaking up silos to ensure your entire organization can access all pertinent information. Often compared to early intranet systems, Elium takes the idea to the next level with and AI Knowledge Assistant, full collaboration features for documents and other content, as well as analytics tools to measure the impact of shared knowledge throughout your small business.

Cons:

  • As a relatively new app, there have been some concerns with the API integration and ensuring data is correctly passed from one app to another. Additionally, the editing system for documents and content may take a little getting used to and is not as intuitive as you might expect.

Price:

  • Featuring three plans, Elium starts at just $4 per user/per month for up a minimum of 10 users and 1 admin with the Team Plan. The Corporate Plan costs $8 per user/per month for up a minimum of 10 users and 3 admins. Enterprise pricing is available on request.

Other Features:

  • The integrated API system is perhaps where Elium is likely to shine in the future, and as it develops, it should open up a whole new world of analytics for small businesses. Additionally, ensuring the right information is going to the right people is easily managed through the access controls and permissions controls which help increase security across the Elium ecosystem.

 

Miro– Best Collaboration App for Visual Users

 

 
Miro boasts what it calls and “infinite canvas” for cross-functional discover and brainstorming, making it an excellent small business app for anyone who prefers to work visually. In fact, the comprehensive toolkit allows collaborations across user stories and customer journey maps, wireframing, roadmaps and sprint planning among others.

 

Pros:

  • Visually speaking, Miro is clear and concise, and the templated and frameworks include help your team intuitively collaboration both synchronously and asynchronously. The infinite canvas means you can add all kinds of elements, including sticky notes, freeform pen, shapes, arrows, smart drawing and more. Embedded video, chat, comments, and screen sharing top off the many benefits of this small business collaboration app.

Cons:

  • With such a broad palette of visual elements, Miro can become a little confusing, particularly if multiple team members are not following pre-defined workflows. Additionally, shortcuts can be confusing and forgetting to lock integral elements can mean they get accidentally deleted.

Price:

  • Miro offers a free, limited version for unlimited members but with only three editable boards. This may be perfect for many small businesses, however, for unlimited editable boards and other features such as private boards and board history, the Starter plan costs $8 per user/per month. After this, the Business plan is $16 per user/per month and the Enterprise plan is priced on request.

Other Features:

  • Core integrations are supported for small businesses that already relay on other popular apps, and within the more expensive packages you can access features such as unlimited guests so customers and clients and keep up to date with project progress, as well as SIEM integrations and centralized account management and insights.

 

Confluence – Best Collaboration App for Engagement

 

Confluence

Confluence aims to give small business a place to create, collaborate and organize work at the very beginning of a team’s journey, offering a range of useful features without any investment required at all. That’s right its completely free to use!

 

Pros:

  • With support for up to 10 users or 3 agents, Confluence is ideal for small businesses that don’t require many of the more advanced tools and features found in other apps. With 2GB of storage space, you may have to be a little more selective over how you use the app, but the ability to break down silos across all locations and devices is a great feature in itself.

Cons:

  • Naturally, since its free to use, Confluence has a limited feature set that may not fulfil the needs of larger organizations. It doesn’t include any type of contact management which hinders sales teams, and it also has no option for video conferencing.

Price:

  • Completely free to use and you don’t even need to add credit card details!

Other Features:

  • While customer service is very limited, there is a large community of Confluence users who are happy to help with issues and help you develop effective workflows, communication, and engagement.

Spike Team
Spike Team The Spike team posts about productivity, time management, and the future of email, messaging and collaboration.

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