Top 5 Productivity Tools To Streamline Your Small Business
The remote work revolution is here to stay! In the past year, we have seen massive shifts from the office to remote work. Some businesses have thrived, while others have struggled with communication and project management. The key difference for businesses that thrived during the mass shutdown of offices everywhere is that shrewd business owners effectively used technology as a resource to facilitate remote work.
These days, there are many options for the modern business owner to conduct remote work. The global market for collaborative software exploded during the pandemic and has only continued to grow since then. The following five apps are some great choices for a small business owner looking to streamline communication. All the following apps are either available on a “freemium” model or offer the user a free two-month trial.
Asana is an excellent all-in-one app for completing team projects. Asana offers users multiple dashboards to share ideas and set goals. The app is best for companies with 1-200 people and is able to integrate with other communication apps like Slack and Zoom.
The basic subscription is free for up to 15 users, premium and business models cost a certain amount per person per month. Be aware that the per person per month payment plan can get tricky when businesses want to add new users.
Trello is a Kaban-style user interface that allows workers to easily visualize workflow. Trello makes it easy to create a board and start assigning tasks within minutes. It boasts a higher upload ability than Asana. While Asana is limited to 100MB per file upload, Trello allows users to upload 250 MB per file on upgraded plans.
Trello gives users “Power-ups” which let them add features such as connections to a shared Google folder. Power-ups allow the small business owner to modify the app to best suit the business’ needs.
Slack is one of the most popular communication tools for small businesses. Slack allows teams to chat in real-time. The app allows users to communicate in both public forums and private channels. While it is similar to the popular chat app WhatsApp, WhatsApp is limited to mobile use only, whereas Slack can be used both on a desktop or a mobile. What makes Slack one of the most popular communication tools is how compatible it is with other apps.
Slack can integrate with Asana, Trello, Google Drive, Dropbox, and many more. However, many users aren’t entirely satisfied by Slack’s video calling features, and many find the Slackbot annoying. If you used to detest the Microsoft Office mascot Clippy, Slack might not be the app for you.
ClickUp bills itself as “one app to replace them all,” and it’s a serious contender for it. ClickUp offers a “forever free” program that allows users unlimited tasks, unlimited members, and up to 100MB of storage. For just $5 annually, business owners get access to unlimited storage, unlimited integrations, unlimited dashboards, and all kinds of custom options.
The only downside of ClickUp is that the app is so sophisticated that there is a bit of a learning curve to using ClickUp. For this reason, ClickUp offers new users educational videos on how to best use the software. If your team has the patience to learn a new user interface, ClickUp could be an invaluable asset.
But if your team struggles with communication already, it may be best to stick to more familiar apps. Where ClickUp stands out is that while it’s great for teams, unlike the other apps, ClickUp is just as effective for the solo entrepreneur. Its organization features can really help someone who is running their own business establish an effective workflow.
Airtable was originally developed in 2012 for the restaurant industry but has since caught on as a powerful workflow integration app. This cloud-based collaboration service that functions like a spreadsheet on steroids. Users are able to build a flexible database to connect all kinds of information.
Airtable also has useful templates for different types of businesses. Because it has many useful features to filter and sort information, this app is best for businesses that have to balance working on multiple projects at once. Airtable is also great for social media management because it can be used to organize and queue posts.
Unfortunately, because this app is so powerful, it also has the highest learning curve of the other apps on this list. Business owners looking into adopting this app should dedicate time to train the team on how to use Airtable.
If you’re having trouble figuring out which productivity tool is right for your small business, here are some things to consider.
You’ll want to select a productivity tool that has features that best work with your team. For example, if your team benefits from a weekly video conference, you might want to select an app that integrates with Zoom. If you’re working with a financial team, you may want a platform that integrates with apps like Robinhood.
Not all apps can grow with a business. If you intend to expand your business, you’ll want an app that allows new users to be onboarded quickly, so they can immediately begin collaborating. You’ll also want to see how many users your app can effectively support, you don’t want an app limitation to be what holds your business back!
Ease of Use
If your team is slow to adopt new technologies, choose an app that is easy and intuitive to use. If it takes days to train your team on how to effectively use the software, that could compound into a lot of lost revenue with each new hire.
When it comes to managing your business remotely, there are a lot of great options to choose from. The market for collaborative software is expanding and growing ever more competitive. With the right productivity tools, your small business can thrive!