Small Business Collaboration Tools

Name one business that became a successful simply on the efforts of one individual. If you can’t name any, there’s a good reason for that; successful teams are built on the foundation of many people.

The old adage, ‘There is no I in team,’ is well known.

Therefore, collaboration is an essential component of successful team building. With modern technology, it’s possible to build a team from outside your narrow geographical region, but if you are not using the right tools, your team might be missing its mark.

What Defines the ‘Right’ Tools?

As every sport is different, players on those team sports require different pieces of equipment from other organizations. For example, soccer cleats and shin guards are one of the most important components for soccer players, but give those to a football player on the gridiron and he could be in great peril.

At the same token, hand a swimsuit to a luger and he or she will be extremely cold and that swimsuit won’t offer any benefit. The right tools, therefore, are crucial to positive team efforts.

In modern business, communication is essential.

It’s easy to overlook this as meaning nothing more than email or text messaging, but communication among teams involves a variety of options. If you have poor or nonexistent communication among your team members, collaboration breaks down and if collaboration breaks down, the entire project will lag.

When you have multiple people working on a single project or even numerous projects all with the same long-term focus (all needing to come together, ultimately), they need to communicate effectively otherwise how can they possibly know what anyone else is doing?

Here are some essential tools every collaborative team needs in order to become and remain successful.

Project Collaboration Tools

No matter the size of the project, each member of the team needs to know what’s happening at any given time. For example, one member may be responsible for website design and another for content creation. If neither team member knows what the other is doing, but completes their projects independently, there’s going to be significant work needed to bridge them together.

Some of the earliest project management tools were nothing more than basic databases or spreadsheets. Some may have used rudimentary calendars that helped everyone keep track of deadlines and other responsibilities.

Good project collaboration tools still provide these basic resources, but they should also include file storage where team members can work in the same document, even at the same time, pose questions to a forum and have them answered by other team members quickly, and even screen sharing options.

Slack helped establish a new project collaboration platform, but Trello and Basecamp also provide positive collaboration tools for team members working on the same project.

Video Conferencing Tools

Anyone who remembers the earliest videoconferencing tools available remembers the challenges. With slow Internet and computer processing speeds, a video call between two people easily broke down.

The feed could freeze, balk, or even fail altogether. It became a frustrating exercise in maintaining positive communication channels. Today, thanks to increased bandwidth and speeds, videoconferencing is more fluid, stable, and powerful.

Team members can participate in a number of videoconferencing tools from their laptops, tablets, desktops, and even their smartphones. Skype for Business, GoToMeeting, and are all options for collaborative team efforts.

The most popular and powerful videoconferencing tools for collaboration in business remain WebEx and Zoom.

These videoconferencing tools are also providing options to go through social media platforms like Facebook Live.

Calendar Collaboration Tools

As the vast majority of business professionals are connected through mobile tablets and smartphones these days, it stands to reason that mobile technology becomes a more integral part of team collaboration. As smartphones and tablets become faster and more powerful, they expand opportunities to remain connected and working fluidly with other team members, no matter where they are in the world.

Using these calendar collaboration tools, an individual can stay on track with meetings, add meetings, and send out reminders to the team, which can be important when various topics are being discussed or deadlines are fast approaching. Also connecting contacts and calendars with various tasks make it easier to keep track of what’s going on with other team members. Google Calendars, and Team Up Calendars provide valuable resources for team collaboration on a mobile platform.

Voice Collaboration Tools

Most of us understand the frustration we might face when trying to reach somebody in an emergency. Imagine you’re working on a project and need to contact your supervisor, a team member, or someone else with a question of utmost importance.

You pick up the phone, dial their number, and are directed to voicemail. It’s frustrating, but you leave a message, not knowing when they will get it or when they’ll have an opportunity to return your call.

Voice collaboration tools change the game in that they allow you and others to see who’s available at any given time among, hunt groups, voicemail to text transcription and more. Press8 Telecom has some great voice collaboration tools such as: hunt groups, conference bridges, voicemail to text transcription, heads up display, find me follow me, call reports, call recording, and powerful call queuing features that let you run a full blown call center. With a powerful VoIP hosted PBX system, like Press8 Telecom, your employees and your customers will always be close and easy to get in touch with. And with pricing as low as 19.99/mo. per user for unlimited calling and over 60 features,  you really can’t be without it. 

Sending a quick chat text or picking up the phone and calling, even using those voice collaboration tools to make the call, mean odds are you won’t have to be directed to voicemail and can get that question answered quickly.

Keeping Things Fluid

One of the most important aspects of business success today is communication. With more tools available for remote work and collaboration, if a company or small business simply doesn’t take advantage of them, they are putting themselves at a distinct disadvantage to their competitors.

When you want to crank up your team’s collaborative efforts, make sure they are using at least some, if not all, of these four essentials. Which ones you use is certainly up to you, but the more tools you have in your toolbox, the more likely you’ll be able to create a masterpiece with your team fired up along each step of the journey.


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