It used to be that all business was conducted on paper. Contracts had to be printed and signed, invoices and payments were processed by hand, and communications were sent via snail mail.
These days it’s a different story. Electronic signatures are now acceptable. Payroll is automatically processed by computers and deposits are made directly into employee bank accounts. And you can communicate with clients around the globe instantly via email, text message, and video chat.
It’s a brave new world of technological innovations, so when it comes to managing projects, why are you still stuck in the Stone Age? There are many options for project management software now available to help you run your business, and here are just a few of the best that you may want to consider.
- TaskPoint. Although this SaaS (software as a service) program features tools for planning, tracking, sharing, reporting, and team-management, its big claim to fame is cross-platform compatibility. You can not only use it online, you can also take it with you via mobile device. And there is an RSS feature to make updating groups quicker and easier (in addition to compatibility with Microsoft Outlook). And with plans starting at just $19/month, it’s definitely worth a try.
- Basecamp HQ. Basecamp project management software is a great choice for small businesses, small groups within larger companies, or those who are running their own home-based business. With simple, functional tools like to-do lists, schedules, milestones, and file management, you can easily handle the needs of a sole proprietorship or a small group of employees in order to stay on track and achieve maximum productivity. And everything is hosted online, so you don’t have to worry about loading software or storing tons of data on your system. Plus, you can choose from plans that start as low as $24/month, or even open a free (but limited) account.
- Sugar CRM. This program is similar to Basecamp, but it offers additional features for the small business owner (along with added cost). In addition to project management tools, Sugar also provides solutions for sales, marketing, and customer service, as well as compatibility with other programs and platforms (email, mobile, etc.). In terms of customer relationship management (CRM), this software has it right in the name. And although it’s slightly pricier than other options (starting at $360/year, or $30/month), you do get a lot more for the money.
- Clarizen. This cloud-based software offers a lot of interesting solutions for larger groups, and it focuses on collaboration. Created by users (rather than managers), it allows for a bottom-up mentality of project management, with tools for budgeting, scheduling and time-tracking, multi-project management, and integration of personal calendars (for detailed forecasting), just to name a few. In addition, it provides for integration with a host of other business-related software, such as Google Docs, iCal, Intacct, and Salesforce. Plans start at $24.95/month.
- Microsoft Project. This software is both the most expensive and the most geared at large corporations (no surprise – it’s Microsoft). It’s also the only program on the list that requires a one-time fee, as you have to download it. At roughly $900 a pop, Project is out of reach for most small businesses, but it’s really better suited to managing the multiple projects, groups, and resources of a large business anyway. And with licensing deals in place, anyone willing to buy dozens (or hundreds) of copies can save a bit.