Collaboration is at the hearth of any business and especially small ones. Since a small business don't have huge teams and departments but relies and each employee quality and expertise to get things done, the better those key people communicate and collaborate, the better.
Internet as greatly improved the way we collaborate, even for a small business it is now possible to have teams spread around the globe and still get things done without friction. Project Management, task management and other crucial collaboration tasks can now be done remotely and online thanks to apps and cloud based services.
But if a lot of collaboration tools exist, not all are suited for small businesses. Often Sass apps and cloud services are aimed at big companies leaving smaller players with tools that are often too complicated for their needs and too expensive for the value it gives. The choice is actually so vast, it can be difficult to distinguish between relevant apps and things that just add complexity to your process.
This what we experienced ourself at Desktop.com, where only 6 people are working full time, and that lead us on the quest for the best online collaboration tools for small businesses. After using and testing a tons of applications ourself (did you know we have more than a thousand of apps in our app store?), we're ready to share our results with you.
But before listing our winners, let's have a look at the features we were look at for a collaboration tool adapted to small businesses:
Sure async collaboration is nice (some would even say trendy) but the truth is, if you work in a small team, real time collaboration is invaluable as you might have urgencies to rapidly tackle. Video conferencing and real time chat is a must have as you don't want to make your team to rely on software they use for their personal needs for that (think Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp, etc.)
This one might seems secondary since as a small business, you want to limit the number of apps you use and pay for, but having the possibility to integrate with your existing tools, even if you only use 2 of them, seems crucial for use in 2022. Having all your apps connected and accessing the information they each contain without having to switch apps saves so much times and trouble that we paid special attention to this particular feature in our test.
So you found a really nice app to optimize part of your process might be the real best at what it does but all your team need to access it and the service costs more than $80 per user? Well sorry but this might be a bit too much account
So without much waiting, here are our best online collaboration selection!
The advantages of having a digital workspace for your team is invaluable and Desktop.com really is a game changer for small business trying to organize there digital workplace information and improve team collaboration, securely.
With Desktop.com, you can organize and collaborate with your digital. If you happen to save a lot of passwords and bookmarks in your browser, Desktop.com is the perfect way to take your collaboration to the next level. Offering an easy to use interface, it lets you easily organize and share your content that would otherwise be spread around emails, or each of your teammates brower. Need to share a link or a password ? You can do that in just one click! Plus, with a communication add-on, Desktop.com let's you get real time collaboration features for no extra cost!
Alright so this is probably the most obvious one, but if there is one and only one thing ANY business need for online collaboration, that is an email. So why not get an integrated office suite along with it? That is what Google Workspace and Microsoft Office 365 have to offer, for less than $10/month you not only get an email address, but also a full featured collaborative platform to work on text, presentation and spreadsheets.
So which one to choose in the end? Google workspace or Microsoft Office 365? We think that it really depends on your industry and the size of your team. For a small business in a more traditional field (think of law firms for example), Microsoft might be the best option as it integrate with the classic Microsoft Office suite and will give you native access to Word, Powerpoint and Excel files. For a medium sized company, Office 365 might also be a good fit since it comes with Microsoft teams, a better communication tool than what Google can now offer with Google chat.
This was a close call with Notion and Basecamp, but after a lot of testing, we chose Asana since it is the most powerful of the three and needs less configuration and learning then its competitors to get started.
Asana lets you create boards (like trello) and roadmaps that make it really good for task management. The dashboard overview it offers per project is super useful to get the full picture of your ongoing projects.
Choosing online tools to improve your team collaboration without adding complexity to your existing processes is a risky task, even for small teams. Luckily, the 3 collaboration tools with picked are all super solid options that are easy to use, configure and onboard your team into. More importantly, they each integrate with each other and offer unique features that will give your team straightforward results. We can safely say that they will improve your company collaboration and communication as soon as you start using them.