This is a guest post from Ella.
As a small business owner, the Internet has changed the way I collaborate and work with my colleagues, contractors and clients. The business world is becoming more global all the time, and collaboration and communication are more important than ever.
Check out these slick little tools (some familiar, some new) that can help you stay on top of things and make working together across the Web a breeze.
Skype is one of the most prolific programs out there. It’s perfect for chatting with friends or having an online conference. It’s simple-to-use conferencing and file sharing system make it a great way to work on a project, troubleshoot code or complete any other business-related activity via text chat, voice call and video.
E-Signatures are becoming more prevalent and important than ever. These systems take all the complications out of delivering and signing contracts. While electronic signatures have been legal for quite some time, the newest generation of electronic signature provider solutions like Silanis make it easy and safe to send contracts through the cloud.
3. Google Docs
Google Docs has been around a while, but it’s stable and free. Many small business owners rely on this system to collaborate on projects with contractors, programmers and other users who aren’t in the same physical location. The ease of use is a huge plus for Google Docs. The ability to be editing an Excel spreadsheet at the same time as your client in another country is pretty amazing in itself.
Basecamp is a basic wiki and collaboration tool that has everything you need to track bugs, discuss projects, set milestones and develop ideas. It’s easy to use and gets you up and running quickly. The startup price for Basecamp is about $99 and there are monthly plans available at as low as $20 a month. It might not do everything you ever hope for but it’s certainly sufficient for small companies just starting out or side projects that may not have a large budget.
5. Facebook Member Pages
If you’re starting something that requires widespread collaboration, why not use a tool that all your members are already used to? More and more organizations, movements and other loose collectives of individuals are using Facebook member pages to collaborate and make plans. It’s just another thing that makes Facebook great.
Zoho is a colorful and fun system that helps small businesses manage their sales, websites, contacts and other online aspects of running a company. You can keep in touch with clients, newsletter members and other employees all from its slick web interface.
Besides being fun to say with various accents, Producteev integrates tons of useful things like email, instant messaging, bug tracking, crowdsourcing and social media all in one place. It’s also tailored to run on anything from your Linux box to a smartphone so you can access it anywhere. It’s got a nice clean interface and intuitive design that makes collaboration a breeze.
Anyone who works with computers knows that sometimes you just can’t beat seeing the other users screen to work out a problem. Join.me makes it super easy to share your screen with a friend or view their screen to work out a computer problem, look at some artwork in progress or otherwise take control of a computer to get things done.
From the makers of DropBox, TeamBox is sort of a combination of a file sharing system and a chat interface to help you keep track of what’s going on with certain documents. This type of thing is vital to artists or musicians who collaborate regularly.
Freedcamp is great a project management system for those who like to drag and drop and want to quickly create bug lists, project milestones and put out announcements to an entire team. It has lots of handy add-ons and is a great Free alternative to Basecamp.