Top Collaboration Tools for Business
- Google Docs: Best for document sharing
- Slack: Best for communication
- ProofHub: Best for project management
- InVision: Best for product design
- Hightail: Best for security
- Evernote: Best for note-taking
- Basecamp: Best for remote workers
- Trello: Best for assigning tasks
- Huddle: Best for client management
- BambooHR: Best for HR
- Zoho Inventory: Best for inventory
- Gusto: Best for payroll
- LivePlan: Best for business plan writing
- Squarespace: Best for website building
Collaboration tools, when used properly, ensure that all of your business operations run smoothly. Any time there is more than one person working on a project, things can get pretty confusing if there isn’t a seamless way that everyone can actually work together.
Whether it’s working on the same document, assigning and editing projects, managing projects, internal communications, human resources, or anything else you can think of, we’ve rounded up the best collaboration tools for your business.
Although there is a seemingly endless number of collaboration tools for business available, we wanted to cover as many aspects of small business as possible. Operating a business goes far beyond making sales and counting inventory—and these tools will help every step of the way.
1. Google Docs
Best collaboration tool for document sharing.
With Google Docs, not only can individuals create documents, ranging from sheets to slides to drawings, they can also share those documents with anyone they choose within the business. Once the document has been shared, it can then be edited by those it’s been shared with.
Being part of the greater G-Suite is also helpful because it can be linked to other Google products like your Gmail and Google Drive, and it’s accessible anywhere you can get an internet connection.
Why use Google Docs?
- The editor or collaborators can make changes or leave notes for the creator and other collaborators
- Great feature for those working on multiple documents or projects at a time
- People can work on documents as time allows
Although you can use Google products for free, small businesses can sign up for the Business G-Suite plan for $12 per user per month.
Best collaboration tool for communication.
Chances are if you’ve ever worked at a business with more than five people, they have a plethora of Slack channels to chat in. Some are department-specific, some are just for fun, and some are direct conversations among a few people.
There are three plan options for Slack for Business ranging in price from $6.67 per user, per month to a customized price determined by calling the Slack sales team.
Why use Slack?
- Collaborate with people who either aren’t in your immediate vicinity, or even in your same office (if the small business you work for has more than one location)
- Share ideas
- Attach documents to be looked at or worked on by another person
- Quicker than email to get a hold of someone for a question or comment on a project
Best collaboration tool for project management.
This collaboration tool is geared toward remote workers and offers productivity tools for planning, organizing, collaborating, delivering a project, and more. The Ultimate Control plan will run you $89 per month if billed annually or $99 per month if billed monthly. They also have a second-tier plan, the Essential plan, that is $45 per month if billed annually and $50 per month if billed monthly.
Both plans offer unlimited users, but the Ultimate Control plan also offers unlimited projects and 100GB of storage, whereas the Essential plan offers 40 projects and 15 GB of storage.
Why use ProofHub?
- Assign both personal and team-oriented tasks
- Manage tasks
- Adjust who gets access to what and in what capacity
- Add discussions to projects and make changes
- Set up your task calendar
- No per-user fee, meaning you pay one price and can have unlimited users
Best collaboration tool for product design.
InVision is a tool for small businesses that want to take their idea for a product and design a prototype for it, all in the cloud. Their free plan allows for up to 10 users, while the Pro plan allows for up to 15, and costs $7.95 per user per month.
Why use InVision?
- Design, collaborate, and test ideas and prototypes through a digital dashboard
- Gain feedback on projects with a digital whiteboard
- Collaborators can make suggestions and share their feedback with the creator in real-time to help move the project forward swiftly
- Most popular plans are designed for businesses with 10 to 15 active users
Best collaboration tool for security.
Hightail is all about sharing files and keeping your business secure. Small businesses often don’t have big budgets for security systems or expensive security software. That’s where Hightail comes in.
The Business plan option is geared toward businesses that will have three or more users and costs $36 per user per month. There are three other pricing options, though, so which one works best will depend on your business needs and team size.
Why use Hightail?
- Share and collaborate on files with team members
- Share feedback in real-time, and save various versions of a project
- Simple drag-and-drop feature to share large files securely with anyone
- Dashboards available to manage all projects and deadlines
- Great for producing presentations, marketing materials, or other visual projects
Best collaboration tool for note-taking.
If you’re the type of business owner that’s always taking notes—whether physical notes on paper or you have someone else taking meeting notes for you—Evernote could be a lifesaver.
Out of their three plan options, the Business option offers everything your team will need out of Evernote’s features for $14.99 per month.
Why use Evernote?
- Take notes in real-time
- Allows for sharing and feedback on those notes
- Make note templates
- Scan previous handwritten notes or documents into Evernote for safekeeping
- Create team spaces for collecting, organizing, and sharing ideas
Best collaboration tool for remote workers.
In Basecamp, you can feel comfortable as an employer managing a team of remote workers. It takes away the need to micromanage and you’ll never be in the dark about what your employees are up to.
For a flat fee of $99 per month, businesses get access to every feature Basecamp offers, plus unlimited projects and users.
Why use Basecamp?
- Create message boards, group chats, to-do lists, calendars, check-ins
- Share documents and files
- Seamless project management
- Communication across all employees
- Let others know when they work, what they’re working on, and when they’ll be working on it
- General information about employee availability
Best collaboration tool for assigning tasks.
Trello is another platform that allows users to work with employees on task management. It’s super convenient for people that work on many different document-creating platforms—so having one that can connect with many of them makes collaborating that much easier.
For Trello Business Class, you’ll pay $9.99 per month per user if billed annually and $12.50 per month per user if billed monthly.
Why use Trello?
- Assign, submit, and manage projects
- Share specific requirements and information about the project, like word count, keywords, relevant links, and anything else the person working on the project should know
- Assignments can be submitted right through their “card” (what Trello calls individual assignments)
- Documents can be attached from files, Google Drive, or other means
Best collaboration tool for client management.
Huddle is a business app that allows you to connect with people across your organization, as well as with external clients and partners. This collaboration tool includes useful features like file sharing, security, version control, file request, and mobile apps.
The Huddle Plus plan is the most popular for small businesses and requires a minimum of 25 users, but the basic Huddle plan, with a minimum of 15 users, is also a great option.
Why use Huddle?
- Collaborate with co-workers and clients—if they are an active part of projects
- Free external users
- Upload your documents
- Huddle will keep documents in the cloud and you’ll have access to them whenever you need them
- Huddle offers mobile apps for both iOS and Android, so you can access documents and work on any device
Best collaboration tool for HR.
Not every aspect of team collaboration is project, design, or assignment-based. Sometimes you need collaboration tools for very practical purposes, like human resources.
In that case, you need a tool like BambooHR. This HR software offers quote-based pricing, so you won’t find any pricing listed on their website, but you can contact the company for a customized quote based on your business’s information.
Why use BambooHR?
- Track open positions at your business
- Organize applications
- Streamline the interview process
- Collect and organize employee data, like their personal information, position, compensation, and anything else HR has collected
- Manage onboarding by setting up welcome emails in advance, gathering electronic signatures, and make completing paperwork easier
11. Zoho Inventory
Best collaboration tool for inventory management.
Running a small business is hard enough without having to keep track of every single piece of inventory you sell and then counting what’s left. Small businesses with one or two locations will benefit most from this cloud-based inventory management system.
There are four pricing plans for Zoho Inventory and each one will bring much-needed inventory relief to your business.
Why use Zoho Inventory?
- Update inventory quantities across all of your selling channels (or stores, if you have more than one)
- Make adjustments to your stock to account for shrinkage
- Barcode scanning for easy counting of product inventory
- Anyone you give access to will be able to utilize Zoho as well, to make sure that inventory is being updated as often, and as accurately, as possible
- If you run an ecommerce business, or if ecommerce is a part of your business, you’ll also be able to manage all orders placed
Best collaboration tool for payroll.
If collaborative payroll is what your small business is after, Gusto provides just that.
There are three different levels of Gusto payroll that businesses can choose from, so the “best” option really depends on what your needs are.
In short, Gusto Core is the most basic level and costs $39 per month plus $6 per month per employee paid through the app. Next is Gusto Complete for $39 per month plus $12 per month per employee paid through the app. Finally, Gusto Concierge costs $149 per month plus $12 per month per employee paid through the app.
Why use Gusto?
- Full-service payroll
- Employee self-service tools
- Health benefits and workers compensation administration
- Customer support
- PTO tracking
- Employee surveys
- Certified HR professionals and resource center
Best collaboration tool for business plan writing.
Before your business even gets started, you and your business partner will most likely collaborate on a business plan. LivePlan takes the guesswork out of writing a business plan, since the software lays out the process for you, as well as gives you the ability to collaborate with other team members.
An annual LivePlan membership is $15 per month when billed annually, the six-month membership is $18 per month, and the month-to-month plan is $20 per month and is billed monthly.
Why use LivePlan?
- Business planning
- One-page business plan template
- Step-by-step guidance
- 500+ sample plans
- Automatic financials
- Lender-ready themes and financial performance tracking
- Two contributors and unlimited guests make sharing with colleagues, an academic advisor, and even stakeholders, simple
- Can add as many collaborative guests as you want
Best collaboration tool for website building.
Building a website, especially for small businesses, can be complicated and expensive, but Squarespace makes it so it doesn’t have to be that way. A well-known name in the web-building space, the biggest drawback of this platform is that although Squarespace does offer a variety of ecommerce features, it wasn’t initially built for this functionality, so those features can be very basic.
There are four pricing options for Squarespace, from personal to advanced commerce, ranging in price from $12 per month to $40 per month.
Why use Squarespace?
- Professional template designs
- Blog and SEO tools
- Unlimited contributors for businesses (personal plan is limited to two)
- Unlimited product listings for ecommerce businesses
- Free custom domain
- Marketing tools, analytics, and inventory management
The Bottom Line
Collaboration is an important part of running a successful business.
Whether it’s working on projects with co-workers, keeping HR materials organized, or creating a stellar business website to bolster your online presence—all of these collaboration tools for business can help you streamline your operations—and make sure everyone is included in the process.