Running a small business means you often have to handle some major projects and don’t have too many people to tackle them with. Keeping track of every element of the project can be the difference between a successful and unsuccessful venture, and for a small business with narrow profit margins, every project can decide the fate of your business.
That’s why project management can make all the difference, and it’s important to take some of that burden off your shoulders with tools that can streamline the process. Owners and employees in small businesses wear a lot of hats, and using tools to automate and keep track of your processes can be a lifesaver during crunch time. Here are some tools every small business should have for project management.
- Communication Tool
How is your team contacting each other and keeping track of past communications? Teams can waste a lot of time and money waiting for someone to open an email and respond, and keeping the lines of communication smooth is key to workflow and productivity. You need a tool that can make sure everyone knows all relevant updates and necessary information.
The ideal communications tool will have the ability for text, phone, and video communications depending on the situation, and will be able to share files and other materials and keep tabs on past communications if a reference is needed. Above all, make sure your team’s communication team is intuitive and easy to use—you don’t want people wasting time trying to puzzle it out.
- Task Management Tool
How many times have you been in the middle of crunch time and suddenly a key deadline is missed because of miscommunication? The proper task management tool, usually a cloud-based platform that can be accessed by all team members around the world, can make all the difference. There is no shortage of project management apps that can solve your problems.
These tools will let project managers assign teams, roles, and tasks that can be found in one place, and send out schedule notifications and updates so no one misses a key deadline or never hears about a critical project change. Keeping tabs on all the moving parts of a major project can be challenging, and these platforms can centralize everything and put everyone on the same page.
- Scheduling Tool
This is probably the tool you and your team will use the most over the course of the project. A scheduling tool can be as simple as an online calendar that everyone can access. This way everyone will be on the same page about timelines, deadlines, and where they are in the process.
This will help avoid gaps or overlaps in the project timeline that could cause lost time or disruptions in production. Make sure that you’re checking and updating the scheduling tool regularly, and take team feedback on it. It should ideally be both visually appealing and easy to understand and navigate.
- Reporting Tool
Whether you have someone above you like a CEO or an investor or are just keeping track for yourself, you’ll want a reporting tool to keep track of important documents. These tools can calculate financial reports, share and analyze data, and help you figure out your audience demographics so you can tailor your marketing campaigns more effectively.
Ideal reporting tools include desktop management options that let you access all your information in one place and customize the system to prioritize the areas you want to focus on. The best reporting tools are versatile and will work for many types of companies and give as much or as little information as is needed.
- Strategy Tool
This one will differ based on what kind of company you’re running because there are strategy tools ideal for different management and business styles. These include agile method templates and Gantt charts. But whatever the subject, this is an all-in-one platform that often combines all the other areas of project management.
Strategy tools vary drastically between models, so make sure to do your research before picking a software suite. Every team and business has different needs, but the one thing that’s key between all models is that strategy tools work best when they’re simple and intuitive.
Up to Date and Ready to Launch
There’s no need to run a business analog-style anymore. Businesses big and small alike can benefit from upgrading to a modern project management suite. Offloading much of the work of communication, scheduling, management and reporting gives you and your team the time they need to focus on the larger goals.