Post by Sharon Thomson
Target audience: Marketing professionals, SEO specialists, PR pros, brand managers, businesses, nonprofits, educators, Web publishers, journalists.
The challenge facing small businesses is that they have to compete against bigger, deep-pocketed competitors when selling products and providing services to clients and customers. While they can’t match their rivals’ budget or resources, they can take advantage of tools that can raise the quality of their communication and collaboration, help them execute better and produce higher quality results.
Below are five free or low-cost tools that will help small businesses get ahead. Some are project management systems and some are task management software — regardless, their goal is to enhance business productivity. See which ones work best for you.
Podio: Bringing it all together
1Podio: This online project management application facilitates communication and collaboration among team members across various project areas. The app enables your staffers to perform their tasks with enhanced organization and flexibility, leading to more timely, higher quality results. Users are given the ability to create different customizable apps depending on their business needs. Some of Podio’s useful features include commenting, task management, file sharing and other capabilities.
Teamwork: Get productive across distances
2Teamwork: Organization at work gets enhanced through this online project management tool that boosts team productivity. A business can communicate and collaborate fast and transparently with team members and clients, across town or across the globe. The app reduces the need to conduct business meetings in person, saving time and costs.
ProofHub: Connect with your project while on the go
3ProofHub: This Web-based project management system (dislosure: I work there) enables better planning and organization around projects, helping you meet deadlines in an orderly manner. It enables globally dispersed team members to communicate and collaborate over important matters. Tasks can be clearly described and assigned to team members with a timeline. Members can connect with their projects even on the go through their mobile device. Through its Gantt chart, a project’s success can be critically assessed and abt inconsistencies or uncertainties arising in a project can be quickly identified and addressed, helping projects get to completion on schedule.
Asana: Assign tasks and move your project forward
4Asana: This online task management software focuses on enabling team members to work together without using email at all. Tasks, conversations, ideas and files belonging to various members are stacked together. Projects and teams can be better organized and managed, and tasks can be executed in a streamlined manner. Asana allows you to assign tasks and view all your projects at once with a three-column view that includes features like work spaces, projects, tasks, tags, notes, comments and an inbox that organizes and updates information in real time. Plus, it integrates nicely with Google Drive. It’s free for teams of up to 15 users.
Basecamp: First in class
5Basecamp: This online project management tool is the most popular project management application on the market. It provides a single centralized repository for all the files, discussions, tasks, schedules and other pertinent information about projects. Its dashboard feature makes members and other stakeholders aware about updates, new files and the status of all deliverables. You can set permissions to give members access to different project areas. Basecamp integrates with third party tools in areas like invoicing, mobile, time tracking, accounting and others.
What do you think? Have a favorite productivity tool? What apps make your business hum?