A friend recently hosted a virtual conference with participants from all over the world and guest speakers from three continents. It was a terrific success, and she plans to host another soon. She chose to have a virtual conference because it was more cost-effective and easier logistically.
Our world now has endless possibilities if you use the right collaboration tools. The new reality is most things are happening virtually. Even Walmart is limiting store traffic and instead encouraging shoppers to shop online. So, if your team or business is still dependent on antiquated operations and business communication forms, it will hinder your opportunities to scale and grow.
With collaboration, there’s little excuse for a failure to deliver. Let’s talk about some of the reasons why you should do more collaboration virtually:
Track your progress and get work done faster.
Cut down the recurring cost of a physical office or physical meetings.
Improve your work efficiency by responding spontaneously to business developments.
Achieve more remarkable results with the best talent.
4 Things to Consider Before Looking at Collaboration Tools
If you’re a startup owner or a team lead, you should consider getting a collaboration tool to facilitate your work objectives and track progress.
One of the things that collaborative tools will do is test your leadership and communication skills. Consequently, before you get a collaboration tool (if you don’t have one already), you should take note of the following.
Be deliberate, or your communication will falter, causing misunderstandings and impeding your workflow. Effective communication is purposeful, carefully considering what is said, whom to say it to, how it will be perceived, and its purpose.
Lousy communication: “Hey guys, I need someone to help with the report on logistics.”
Good communication: “Hey John, can you please send the report on logistics from the last quarter?”
Your communication needs to be specific and courteous.
Because of the impersonal and non-factual nature of work done via collaboration tools, it’s crucial for team leads to be more intentional with their leadership. They need to identify currents of conflict and unproductiveness and deal with them promptly. Good leadership involves good listening and people management skills.
Ways to improve your leadership on a collaborative platform
- Create a clear assignment of tasks, and let everyone involved know their role in the project.
- Set timelines for project completions.
- Reach out to team members whose productivity has declined.
- Clearly define the culture of the team.
- Set a good example of hard work and leadership; don’t just say what you will do, do what you say.
Resolving conflict is an offshoot of good leadership and speaks to your ability to resolve a dispute with tact. Challenges are bound to occur when you use a collaborative tool; ineffective communication, remote work setbacks, and the frustration of not being able to communicate physically will affect team members from time to time.
The leader must ensure that while these conflicts occur, they do not ruminate to the point of affecting productivity or demoralizing team members. One of the best ways to effectively resolve a dispute is to anticipate its occurrence and determine the steps to solve the problem.
Performance management is one of the benefits of a collaborative tool; you can track your team's progress and decide what needs to change to improve efficiency. Therefore, you should enhance your analytical skills so that you’re not ignorant of operational loopholes.
How to improve your analytical skills
Document everything, and have records that show your progress.
Identify growth indices by measuring your KPIs. Consistently check your team’s progress, and update yourself on the statistics of your tool.
Now that we’ve discussed these critical skills let’s talk about the ten top collaboration tools you can use to boost your productivity.
Top 10 Collaborative Tools for Your Startup
You should answer these questions before you choose any collaborative tool. Some of these tools have free and paid plans, so you can use the free version before deciding.
There’s no reason you should be stuck with a collaboration tool you don’t find helpful.
- Have I considered all my options?
- Does it suit my organization’s communication needs?
- Are there generally good reviews for this product?
- Can my startup afford this product now?
1. Office 365: Excel and Word
Microsoft Excel provides excellent features for business analysis and bookkeeping. These software products are great for creating, preparing, and laying out official documents and business communication in several templates.
With the Notes and Comments functions, you can discuss business reports, set formulas, import workbooks, view financial forecasts, and even protect your document from third parties.
2. Google Drive
You will need to store your important files as you grow your startup. Google Drive is like the traditional file cabinet, keeping your essential files and saving them to the cloud.
You can retrieve them even if you lose your device or grant your team access. Like Google Docs, you can edit the permissions to restrict access to view them alone.
If you’re a design team leader, you should consider using this tool to enhance your creative goals.
On Canva, you can create stunning videos and images and invite your team to edit or view them. And if you’re not a design team lead, you can design your business cards, logos, brochures, and letterheads, if you’re inclined.
Brosix is an all-in-one instant secure messenger that’s effective for team collaboration. With all the features you might need for business communication: audio, video, whiteboard, screen sharing, screenshot, chat rooms, offline messaging, file transfer, etc. you can improve your team’s work efficiency, control user permissions, comply with industry-standard security measures (such as HIPAA and SAS-70), and boost your productivity.
The great thing about Brosix is the emphasis on security. It means you can collaborate safely without fear of data compromise or sabotage. Communication on Brosix protects peer-to-peer connections, data compression, and encryption.
Chanty is another collaborative tool that aids team communication. On Chanty, you can import users from Slack, Stride, Flock, and HipChat, guaranteeing an uninterrupted workflow. You can share large blocks of code with your team, activate the dark theme (for users concerned about protecting their eyes), and pin information you want to read later.
With Chanty, you won’t miss a thing, not even information on other apps—the app is integrated with other apps like Google Drive and Mailchimp, making it easy to get rid of distractions.
Slack is an email alternative allowing users to directly tag other users who need to be part of conversations.
There are no open or click rates with Slack; your team members can see what needs addressing in one place—and attend to it—without having to worry about sifting through a list of unopened emails. Also, no matter what the data size of the file is, you can share them via Slack to your teammates.
ProductHunt is an excellent product listing tool for marketing your tech products. But it’s much more than a yellow page for products; with the discussion section, users can review your product and upvote it.
This way, you can get a community of people talking about your products and sharing them with others. It’s also a great place to post your job openings and create events to discover a great talent for collaboration.
Need to record what’s on your screen and share it with others? ScreenRec is a free screen-capturing software that can capture videos and audio for you to reshare or keep.
This tool will particularly aid onboarding; from the comfort of your location, you can resolve team members’ work problems without even picking up the phone. They can forward their captured screens to you, and you can provide the solution by doing the same!
Zoom is a great collaboration tool for meetings and small teams who are in the business of events or events management.
On Zoom, you can record meetings, host webinars, hold board meetings to ensure that everyone is up to speed on business developments, and even hire talents from across the globe.
Apploye time tracker is a remarkable tool for tracking employee work hours and companywide productivity. For startups, it’s the best solution for startups, given it provides a plethora of time-tracking features that can boost productivity and streamline the workflow in your workplace. Apploye offers remote track features such as screenshots, URL tracking, and app usage to help managers monitor their remote workforce.
Its GPS track addon helps track the real-time location of mobile employees. Furthermore, managing several projects, tracking time against numerous tasks, and a performance-based intuitive dashboard can help your startup reach new heights.
These eleven collaboration tools will boost your productivity, giving you more room to conceptualize new heights for your startup.
This nifty little tool is here to revolutionize the way we schedule group meetings. No more endless back-and-forth emails trying to figure out the best time to meet because Taggg's got you covered with its calendar overlays.
Not only can you quickly see everyone's availability and select meeting participants, but you can also book meetings instantly without any overlap or scheduling conflicts. And it doesn't matter if you're a Google or Microsoft calendar user; Taggg works with both!
But that's not all, folks. With Taggg, you can even share your calendars with people inside and outside your organization, so everyone can find a mutual time to meet. Plus, with flexible options for your Group Bookable Link, including Shared Availability, Round Robin, or booking with the First Available person, Taggg makes scheduling a breeze.
Visme online whiteboard is an easy-to-use tool for brainstorming, planning, and designing. Teams can create flows, plans, sketches, wireframes, and more. Visme’s whiteboarding software is perfect for beginners and non-designers.
With this tool, you can create, store, and collaborate while maintaining brand consistency across your whole team.
It has a collection of native integrations, so you can connect Visme to other tools you already use.
Radina Skorcheva is a Digital Marketing Specialist at Inbound Blogging, specializing in Content marketing and SEO. Besides her passion for digital marketing, she likes traveling and spending time with her family. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.