Best collaboration tools for entrepreneurs
Whether you are a startup or an established business, effective collaboration is the secret sauce to success in entrepreneurship. Your employees need to work together seamlessly if they are to get more done faster and excellently. Thanks to technology, there are various tools for supporting efficient teamwork whether the team members are working from the same office or located a million miles apart.
But as with choosing from various options, probably you wonder, which collaboration tool do I go for? Besides, these tools come at a cost and your business could try to balance effectiveness and cost. We understand running a business requires reliable cash flow and cutting expenses could be a priority. That’s why we have highlighted some of the best collaboration tools to increase efficiency without blowing operational costs.
If you have passwords you want various team members to use, you don’t need to expose them on the communication channels. They can actually land on the wrong hands. Instead, you can create an account on a password management tool and save important passcodes. Then, you just need to invite the other users to retrieve the passwords any time they want to use them.
LastPass is an efficient password manager that lets you create a folder for passwords and share it with different users. It’s suitable for a business where teams should access a common device or application using the same passwords. This tool is available for Linux, Mac, and Windows. The desktop installation pack for these platforms installs extensions for almost all browsers, including Opera, Microsoft Edge, Microsoft Edge Legacy, Firefox, and Chrome. You can also get LastPass for your iPhone or iPad and Android device.
Google suite of applications provides everything your business would need to collaborate on documents. Its applications include Word, Spreadsheets, Slides, Forms and others. Teams can write, edit, comment and manipulate content on one document at a go.
Since it’s an online application, Google Docs eliminate the need to share heavy email attachments that may end up straining the recipients computer storage space. You can transform any Google Doc to other versions such as MS Word or PDF on the fly. The documents integrate with Google calender such that teams can schedule tasks and set reminders for anything they are working on.
The free option, though designed for personal use, is fairly satisfactory for a lot of business needs. But Google has gone a notch higher with its Google Workspace solution to offer Google Docs designed with business collaboration in mind. If you wish you can try Workspace free for 14 days and decide if your business would do better with a paid option.
Google’s suite of documents is a web-based application that’s available online. But they also have an app for Android and iOS.
If you are starting out on project management, Asana could be the perfect solution for you. It’s simple and offers everything you need to run your project, from planning to execution, and the tools for project coordination and tracking. And all this you can perform on the free basic plan that’s suitable for individual and team projects. Some things you can do with Asana include, run as many projects as you want at ago, collaborate with up to 15 team members, organize projects into viewable tasks and assign team members, send messages and monitor the project progress. You could also have contractors track time and bill you since Asana integrates with a variety of time-tracking apps such as Everhour and TaskBill.io.
Asana is a web-based application and is accessible online only from any browser.
Collaborating on budget allocation has never been easy thanks to Cobudget. This app helps business stakeholders to discuss and allocate funds as a team depending on what matters in an organization. Businesses can analyze different functions and decide which ones to prioritize when funding and how much should go where. This brings clarity on how funds are used and improves transparency in budget allocation. Cobudget offers a free plan with unlimited users but limited support. Businesses can upgrade to the TAKE OFF plan at 49,99 €/month or ask for a custom plan. Cobudget is a currently a web-based application which you access by creating an account online.
Coda bills itself as an all-encompass solution for various team needs. It’s a robust tool for project management, data management, business communication, and collaboration. One unique thing about Coda is that it puts together most of the tools you know and have been using so that you can access them from one place. Using Coda is like having one app for Google documents, Trello, spreadsheets, and more.
Coda offers a free package for the entire team but with limited capabilities. For instance, they limit the objects and rows you can have in documents to a 50 and 1000, respectively. Besides the free package, Coda has Pro, Team, and Enterprise packages that start at 10/month per doc maker. Coda is available online, but it also comes with an app for Android and iOS.
Businesses thrive on the quality of decisions they make. Sometimes, the best decision doesn’t always come from the leader. That’s where an ideas crowdsourcing tool comes in handy. For a business that wants to deliberate on matters even without sitting for a physical meeting, Loomio is your tool. With Loomio, you can display a topic of discussion, the input by different contributors, and a conclusion. If there’s any bone of contention, you can display this on a pie chart for members to address the concerns before making a conclusion. Stakeholders can also poll right within this tool.
Loomio pricing starts at USD30/per month. Interested users can test the tool for free for 14 days.
Access Loomio online using either the computer or your mobile device.
Learning is key part of business growth. Whether it’s about improving internal process, using new technology or boosting customer service, any startup needs to avail necessary information to employees. One effective way of doing that is by putting the information at a central place where employees can access it on their own. E-learning is gaining traction and business training and quizzing can take place online too. Businesses can actually organize regular aspects like job onboarding into a short course and put it online for new employees to access at their own time. For this and more, try ClassMaker. It’s available online and offers credit packs starting at as low as USD25.00.
Does your workforce include remote workers? Then a tool like Teamviewer can be your go-to solution for monitoring and connecting with your team members. Also, with Teamviewer, your employees can bypass VPN and access any information they require from business devices remotely. They can attend meetings online and receive technical support when need be.
Teamviewer’s pricing starts at US$22.90/mo and they offer Business, Premium and Teams licenses. Each package comes at a different price depending on the number of users you want to have on each account. To use Teamviewer, you’ll need to download and install desktop or mobile software. The application is compatible with Mac OS, Windows, Linux, Android and iOS.
Calendly is a widely used tool for scheduling and booking appointments online. Perhaps many have used to collaborate with clients, but it also offers scheduling features for teams. With the basic option, you can add Calendly to your website, schedule unlimited events, send automatic notifications and integrate with Zoom, among others. Besides, Calendly for teams shows availability for each member and one person can schedule a meeting and invite others based on their availability. The basic option is totally free, and the next plan comes at $8 per user/month. Get Calendly by signing up online, or downloading an iOS or Android app to suit your specific device. Also, Calendly offers browser extensions for Firefox, Chrome and Outlook inbox.