By Rieva Lesonsky
Technology makes it impossible to tell which companies are running virtually–and that’s a good thing. Seamless operations and collaboration projects the image that your company can compete with the big guys—and with the right tools you can save precious working capital. Here are six collaboration tools to help you keep your project on task and your stress levels low.
- For simple file sharing, you can start out with something free like Google Drive which allows you 15GB of free storage. You can also purchase more storage for a nominal monthly fee. The same goes for iCloud storage for Macs, but you only get 5GB before you need to buy more.
- Topping the list at TopTenReviews.com is the Clarizen collaboration program. Earning a rating of 10 out of 10 from the reviewers, this Web-based project management tool needs neither IT support nor a server to host it. Accessible from anywhere because it’s hosted in the cloud, Clarizen works across all platforms and includes advanced social media and mobile tools. You can also manage your budget, expenses and scheduling.
- If your business is a creative one, Cage is an online collaboration tool for agencies, designers and freelancers who need to keep track of the progress of a design. No more emailing drafts back and forth; Cage can help you get faster feedback and see comments all in one place.
- Basecamp is a popular project management tool that starts at $20 per month and has a 60-day trial period to see if you like it before you invest. The plusses are all about simplicity: Basecamp is easy to learn and easy to use.
- Likewise, Dropbox for Business can store all your staff’s work files, and anything your team adds to Dropbox will automatically show up on all their computers, phones and the Dropbox website. If you’re worried about cloud security, your files are stored using 256-bit AES encryption, and SSL creates a secure tunnel for data transfer.
- When you need more integration and more features (and have more employees), check out MangoApps which also supports IM, voice chat, document management and enterprise microblogging. This collaboration tool is for businesseswith from 50 to 500 employees.
Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at email@example.com, follow her on Google+ and Twitter.com/Rieva and visit her website, SmallBizDaily.com, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.