20 Collaboration Tools Suited For Small Businesses & Startups

This article has been updated with an expanded list to include new products that reflect the state of the market in 2020.

Collaboration is more than just a standard business practice. It is a conglomerate of skills, foresight, ideas, tools, and people working together towards a set of goals. But collaboration is a huge effort and in a conventional business landscape, can take up a lot of personnel and resources.

In this article, we list down the best collaboration tools suitable for small business and startups. Some are bare down to the core and provide only the basic elements for businesses on tight budgets. However, in the right hands, even the simplest collaboration tool can easily become a powerful platform.

The good news is that with the advent of web-based collaboration software providers and on-premise collaboration tools for small businesses, working in unison with other team members and third-party professionals is now a tad easier and more cost-effective.  This is especially true for small businesses and expanding enterprises with less resources and funds to spare. Collaboration software trends indicate that these tools will make further strides in the years to come, with technology and industries exerting significant influence. According to business analyst David Coleman, collaboration trends will involve more client-server apps over standalone apps and collaboration expansion due to AI advances, CMSWire reports.

Collaboration software has become a popular tool among many businesses in a variety of sectors, bringing together relevant people to ensure project success. These platforms come in different forms and yet share collaborative features which can greatly benefit small businesses. In fact, 93% of organizations are using standardized project management practices for improving outcomes and reducing risks according to PMI’s Pulse of the Profession 2018 survey. Project management tools also facilitate communication so that no one gets left behind whenever project changes and updates are implemented. In fact, the best project management solutions like the ones you find here feature strong collaboration tools to see that projects are successful.

Collaboration Software Market Worldwide 2015-2020

That said, not all collaboration solutions are created equal, as some are designed to do particular stuff while others are developed to suit specific industries. You need not get an enterprise project management software, too, just for collaboration work space. Here are affordable yet robust solutions suitable for a growing business like yours.

1. calendar dashboard

Popular collaboration tool also doubles as a communication app and is targeted at project management teams. It has the ability to sync all project information in a single location while promoting better decision-making for both agents and project team members. The system can improve department and team performance by streamlining contributions. It assembles and logically displays project progress information, making sure that all users understand them. 

Businesses also get to enjoy incentives, which can greatly aid personnel in carrying out their individual tasks and assignments. Monday comes with a sleek interface, which is designed for collaboration. The app can be readily used after the installation as its simplicity gets rid of the need for user training. can be purchased in different pricing packages, starting at $39/month, billed annually. For those who want to take it for a spin first, a free trial is also available.

If you want to know more about the features you can easily sign up for free trial here.

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2. Wrike

Also making it to our list of collaboration tools suited to small businesses and startups, online project management tool Wrike is known for helping accelerate projects in both distributed and co-located teams. It is flexible enough to promote collaboration using a singular console. The platform allows users to schedule, monitor, prioritize and discuss work and project progress–all in real time, with a few clicks. You can easily sign up for Wrike free trial here and get to know the features firsthand at no cost and without commitment.

It is loaded with information management and business collaboration functionalities that are meant to improve business performance. The interface is quite easy to navigate, making project management easy for employees and managers alike. It is equipped with top-of-the line security features, which ensure that only relevant personnel get to access critical project information.

Wrike is available in a variety of pricing schemes, starting at $9.80/user per month. For those who are interested only in its basic features, a free version is also available.

3. Clarizen

Enterprise-grade collaboration tool Clarizen combines project management and social engagement capabilities. Its social collaboration feature aligns project teams towards executing ideas. This cloud-deployed system is not only easy to deploy, but is quite easier to use. Its ability to improve team performance has made it the tool of choice for over 2,300 organizations worldwide. An appealing test drive of all software features is available to you when you sign up for Clarizen free trial here.

The system connects projects, tasks, and conversations, helping businesses achieve success. Companies also get to accelerate the way they manage their projects, work, and initiatives. Budgets, resources, projects, portfolios, resources, and tasks are prioritized automatically, keeping a handle on key resources and information.

Clarizen’s pricing details are not disclosed publicly. You have to visit its official website and ask for a quote.

4. Zoho Projects

Project management solution Zoho Projects is designed to ensure project completion while improving productivity. It comes with numerous features that promote collaboration and boost project monitoring. With the software, projects can be planned in advance with the use of tasklists. Projects are broken down into smaller tasks, making them easier to manage. Subtasks, dependencies, and recurring tasks are scheduled so that users are able to meet their deadlines. Detailed but easy-to-understand graphs and charts are generated by the system, from which valuable insights may be derived. Zoho Projects is virtually maintenance-free as it can track bugs, test the system and fix it if necessary. The software offers code-free customization, allowing for the expansion of its capabilities at any given time. Security is quite excellent as the system stores information safely, with only authorized individuals allowed access to them. However, its integrations is what sets Zoho Projects apart from most systems as it works well with just about any third-party application.

Zoho Projects can be purchased in a number of pricing plans starting at $25/month (billed annually).

5. Hive

Cloud-based collaboration app Hive is designed for use by teams of any size. It comes with many features such as task management, file sharing and chat. The platform allows for the creation and organization of tasks for any project team member. These tasks can be customized to accommodate attachments and display labels and deadlines. Project progress can be tracked while deadlines and workloads can be altered. Also, Gantt charts can be used in planning individual tasks. The solution integrates with Box, Google Drive and Dropbox, making files accessible from a singular dashboard. Files may be shared by attaching them to actions or dragging and dropping them into messages.

Hive can be purchased in two pricing plans, starting at $12/user per month. For those who want to give it a try first, a free trial is also available.

6. Creativity 365

A combination of creative apps, Creativity 365 is targeted at professionals and businesses in the creative sector. It is designed to manage data, documents, edit multimedia and generate and grow concepts. The suite comes with tools for use in digital content creation for both desktops and mobile devices. It enhances collaboration, productivity, and creativity while streamlining office workflows. Users get to enjoy flexibility as the product supports iPhone, Android, and iPad, along with machines running on Windows and Mac. Other prominent features such as document scanning and sending, presentation builder, e-signature, cloud-based storage, and file conversion are also present.

Creativity 356 can be purchased in different pricing plans, starting at $9.99/month.

7. Asana

Popular project management platform Asana is also known for facilitating communication and collaboration among project team members. Using the software, projects and tasks can be created within projects. The progress of these tasks can be tracked from different devices and browsers while team members can be added to projects and tasks if needed. Users can also share files with others and communicate with them using the app. Asana gets rid of the need for third-party applications and email in communicating. It can also be used to share notes, upload attachments of various formats and organize tasks, resulting in streamlined workflows and timely project delivery. The system can notify Asana users through their inbox, through which they may be invited to follow, check or comment on an update. Other key features include task relating, searching, change management and prioritizing of completion.

Asana is available in two distinct pricing plans, starting at $99.9/month. For those who only want its basic features, a free version is also available.

8. Slack

Messaging app Slack doubles as a collaboration tool by providing users with all their communication needs from a single location. The platform offers modern project teams real time messaging, searching and archiving capabilities. It integrates with numerous external services and third-party applications, which include MailChimp, Zendesk, Google Drive and GitHub. Built-in internal and external options help make sure that users can share and receive files. Its advanced search, sorting and filtering ability ensure that one gets the right file, every time. Results can be filtered by recent type, relevance or file type, whichever may be suitable. What’s even better is that Slack comes with native Android and iOS applications, allowing users to access the system, anytime, anywhere.

Slack is being marketed in two pricing packages, starting at $6.67/user per month. For those who need only the app’s basic functionalities, a free version is also available.

9. Smartsheet

Web-based collaboration software Smartsheet is highly-suitable for team task management, project management, sales pipeline tracking and crowdsourcing, among others. It is ideal for app development teams, offering them a great way to collaborate on both processes and projects. It effectively mixes spreadsheet use, file sharing, visual timeline management and automated workflows to improve project management. Smartsheet’s dashboard is not only intuitive, it is also familiar as many companies use spreadsheets in their processes, making it easy-to-use for most teams. The solution has integrations with web services like Box, Google Apps and Salesforce. Collaboration capabilities can be used on operations management, event planning and marketing campaign tracking, to name a few. It has become the tool of choice for many businesses owing to its file sharing, use of Gantt charts and work automation features.

Smartsheet is being marketed in a variety of pricing modules, starting at $25/user per month (billed annually). If you want to test out its features first, a free trial is also available.

10. Trello

Leading project management application Trello has collaborative features that are bound to benefit any business. It uses the concept of boards in managing, tracking and categorizing projects and tasks. The system allows users to discuss tasks and projects in real time so that everyone stays in the know with task assignments, email notifications and activity logs. Members, who can be added on the board get to vote on ideas that are displayed on cards. Trello is easy to use, with cards able to display virtually everything there is to know about a project. Its drag-and-drop functionality further makes tasks easier to accomplish, while allowing in-line editing. It can be accessed from most popular browsers, from any device. Users can put cards in lists and use them to track project progress, categorize, or simply organize them. 

Trello is being sold in two pricing plans, starting at $9.99/user per month (billed annually). For those who want only basic functionalities, a free version is also available.

11. Podio

Collaboration tool Podio is known for facilitating communication and organizing projects and tasks for teams. This is achieved by assigning a single location for context, content and conversations. This way, users get to have all the information they need to get a job done. It also makes collaboration and task completion easier as confusion is reduced. The system monitors and organizes communication, be it information sharing or getting an urgent message from a member. All conversations are stored in a single place, allowing users to monitor them easily. It also comes equipped with tools for task management, automated workflows, social collaboration, calendar, integrated chat, and meeting scheduling. In addition, users get to enjoy functionalities like personal dashboards, data visualization, a connected CRM, granular access and full customization.

Podio comes in two pricing plans, starting at $9/month. For those who only need its basic features, a free version is also available.

12. Yammer

Business social networking solution Yammer aids businesses in the management of internal communications. The platform is so easy to use that it can be accessed using email that is registered in a business’ computer domain. It uses a variety of channels to boost communication and comes with a document storage facility, along with a capability to support collaborative document creation. Critical data are secured by the system, which can likewise integrate seamlessly with other software. It provides an environment in which brainstorming can be done and creative ideas generated. The system integrates information access and triggers intelligent business platforms. It helps companies save money as it evaluates data, which are converted into reports using robust analytics tools. The system is an intelligent platform, able to gather, store and evaluate critical information. Conversations can also be captured and stores in a historical database, which can be accessed by concerned parties. Its knowledge management capabilities, meanwhile, reinforces organization’s survey implementation efforts.

Yammer comes in a variety of pricing models, starting at $5/user per month.

13. Workplace by Facebook

A private social network targeted at both individuals and businesses, collaboration platform Workplace by Facebook is essentially a mirror image of the popular social media channel. This powerful tool hosts functionalities like groups and event organization and information sharing, among others. However, the solution’s most prominent feature is that it easily facilitates communication and messaging. Organizations can use the tool as a central communication center, from which they can send volumes of messages, record videos and schedule events. Staff can communicate with others by using the app’s instant messaging functionality, create groups for users from common departments or those with similar interests and create profiles.

Workplace by Facebook is available in a single pricing plan of $3/active user per month. For those who want only its basic functionalities, a free version is available.

14. Atlassian Confluence

Collaboration software Atlassian Confluence is designed to align project teams and workplaces so that they are able to share data that are critical to business success. It enables users to create, organize and discuss tasks with any project team member. The platform basically puts all team members in a single place where they can exchange project-relevant ideas. Apart from this, the solution also safely stores information and allows for the easy search and retrieval of data. Managers also have the option to assign teams, departments and projects permissions, providing them with their very own online work space. With the tool, users can engage anyone in the team through the use of feedback, discussions, likes, threaded comments and mentions. Users can likewise create product requirements, knowledge base articles, meeting notes. Everyone gets to contribute as everything is stored online. Data from email inboxes and applications can be captured by the system, which are organized and made accessible to all users.

Atlassian Confluence is available in two pricing schemes, starting at $10/month. A free trial is also available for those who want to try its features first.

15. Samepage

Complete collaboration system Samepage is designed to cater to small businesses. It promotes collaboration using tools like discussions, scheduling, instant messaging, file sharing, task lists and conversations. The platform is recommended for different types of organizations, including non-profits and educational institutions. Implementation is a breeze and can be done across teams of vendors, consultants, employees, partners and clients. The solution can organize and store files such as videos, images, maps and conversations in a single page, allowing for easy collaboration. Pages can be shared with any team member, allowing them to be synced, not to mention updated at all times. The service can be accessed anywhere at any given time, thanks to the native mobile applications that come with it. Files that are stored in services like Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive and Box can likewise be integrated into the system.

Samepage comes in a single straight forward pricing plan of $7/member per month. If you are only interested in the app’s basic functionalities, a free version is also available.

16. Scoro

Cloud-based business management solution Scoro is designed for SMBs, specifically those in the advertising, consulting and information technology sectors. The system is feature-laden, bringing with it functionalities like project management, collaboration, work scheduling and tracking, quote and billing, dashboards and advanced reporting. It comes with an intuitive interface, which eliminates the need to switch between apps and email clients. What makes it unique, however, is its control hub, from where all performance data, tasks, calendar events and account data are displayed. The vendor offers country-specific integrations in EU territories, providing localized solutions to those who require them.

Scoro comes in three pricing models, starting at $22/user per month, all of which require a minimum of five users. 

17. Social Tables

Leading collaboration platform Social Tables is designed to cater to properties and event planners. It basically connects parties online, resulting in successful event implementation. The app is designed to make event management tasks such as table charts, guest management and seating arrangement easier for managers. Its simplicity entails ease-of-use, addressing concerns such as diagram creation, seating charts or simply checking in guests. The system is very popular among large players in sectors such as entertainment, food and travel. And because it is cloud-based, teams can create, manage and discuss events from virtually anywhere through mobile devices. It is so intuitive that mastering the system does not require any training at all. Simply access the software and it does the rest.

Social Tables’ pricing information are not publicly available on its website. You have to contact the vendor and ask for a quote.

18. Areitos

Internal social networking software Areitos is a very useful collaboration tool, allowing users to create their very own private social networks. Apart from collaboration, these social networks can be used in communication, instruction, professional development, inclusion and diversity efforts. With the solution, you can create internal communities that are web- and mobile-optimized. The system can be deployed via-cloud or on-premise and provides absolute customization and branding control. It comes with APIs and can seamlessly integrate with popular social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Udemy, Indeed and EventBright, among others. Areitos also simplifies training and coaching processes, which may come as group-based or one-on-one sessions. This is achievable as the software is an ideal platform for both teaching and learning.

Areitos’ pricing information are not publicly available. You have to contact the vendor and ask for a quote.

19. Mongrov

Workforce engagement and collaboration platform Mongrov is designed to unify one’s workforce and streamline business processes in order to boost employee productivity and efficiency. The main highlight of this software is its collaboration capabilities, which connects all employees in a digital environment and provides everyone access to up to date data. Everyone is kept on the same page through a taskboard where managers can delegate tasks to qualified workers and set task priority for speedy completion of crucial projects. Its taskboard is updated in real-time, ensuring that everyone is kept on the same page. Communication is key for a well-connected team, and Mongrov does not disappoint in this regard. Real-time messaging features enables everyone to quickly get their thoughts across, while its video conferencing allows for in-depth discussions. Moreover, conveying proper instructions to field workers is made easy thanks to its geo-tracking capability, which enables managers to monitor all workers so they can deliver proper instructions and delegate assignments in real-time.

Mongrov’s Team plan costs $19.99 per month and supports up to 10 users, while its business option costs $3.99 per user each month. For enterprises, you can contact the vendor to get a custom quote.

20. LOOP

LOOP transforms team collaboration in handling emails by giving users the ability to collaborate with their team without leaving the inbox. Conversing from within the actual email itself is possible with this messaging app by simply looping in your teammates. This is a night and day improvement compared to forwarding of emails to your team members, as LOOP allows you to receive real-time feedback from your team for faster resolution of issues. Excluding the email sender during conversations is also possible to maintain confidentiality. With all your communications facilitated on a single platform, all team members are connected at all times and empowers everyone to contribute in team discussions. All files are also stored on a single location for better accessibility.

Get in touch with the customer support of LOOP for details regarding their basic and enterprise options.

So there you have it, the 20 collaboration tools suited to small businesses and startups. But don’t just dive into a deal just yet, take time to evaluate your organization’s needs and try determine what you really want in such a system before committing to one. If you have not made up your mind which solution to choose, we recommend starting with The platform is easy to get started with and has all the features you need to get streamline all your projects. You may sign up for free trial here to learn more about its features.

Stephanie Seymour

By Stephanie Seymour

Stephanie Seymour is a senior business analyst and one of the crucial members of the FinancesOnline research team. She is a leading expert in the field of business intelligence and data science. She specializes in visual data discovery, cloud-based BI solutions, and big data analytics. She’s fascinated by how companies dealing with big data are increasingly embracing cloud business intelligence. In her software reviews, she always focuses on the aspects that let users share analytics and enhance findings with context.

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