What Are the Best Project Management Tools for Small Businesses?

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What Are the Best Project Management Tools for Small Businesses?

Key Points

  • Project management tools help streamline operations, improve collaboration, and increase productivity for small businesses.
  • Asana, Paymo, Trello, Nifty, ClickUp, and Wrike are some of the best project management tools for small businesses.
  • Benefits of using project management tools include better task assignment, improved communication, organized project activities, and feedback reports.

Running a small business can be less complex compared to managing a larger enterprise. This is due to the involvement of fewer people and processes. However, overseeing several departments in such a business will eventually tire you out. That is where project management tools come in. These tools ensure that your workflow is efficient and well-organized, while at the same time guaranteeing you maximum output. 

What is a Project Management Tool?

A project management tool is software used to coordinate a project involving numerous people and vendors. This software usually has flowcharts and scheduling features that show how tasks relate. Using these features, you can plan your strategy to finish your project quickly and effectively. Project management tools often include budgeting and communication features to help you keep important project information in one place.

When it comes to small businesses, the ideal software should strike a balance between affordability and functionality. It should offer competitive pricing while providing necessary features tailored to your specific needs. Complex project management tools have a steep learning curve, resulting in lost time. Let’s look at six of the best project management tools for small businesses.


Asana is a superb project management tool. It supports several project management styles while giving its users complete control over the organization and visualization of their work. This program features an intuitive and well-presented interface with readily available tools. The navigation sidebar, located on the left, enables users to access their projects, messages, personal task list, and stats.

The Home screen displays the list of tasks, the people assigned to them, and the due dates. You can use the tool to assign each task to multiple projects when needed. There is an unlimited range of task assignments. Asana excels in flexibility, allowing users to switch between different views and layouts from the default list format, timeline, calendar, board, and dashboard.

While the default project template is open-ended, Asana allows users to create their own task and project templates. In the default setup, you are only required to add a title. You can then freely add all the remaining information, including organizational tags, a description, assignees, due dates, and custom fields.

Even though Asana allows users to add information to their tasks, the interface remains relatively clean, ensuring your focus is always on the work rather than the project management tool. The Zapier integration feature adds to Asana’s flexibility by allowing users to connect the tool with their favorite apps, from Slack to Gmail. Asana is available for Web, iOS, and Android.

asana app website

If you’d like to learn more about the Asana and how it can help your small business get and stay on track, check out this video.


Paymo is an excellent project management system for managing invoices, projects, and billing across a large client base. The tool has a billing-centric format, allowing users to set projects with their specific clients. You can easily decide whether to bill your projects according to hourly rates or at a flat fee.

A built-in timer makes tracking the hours spent on respective tasks and projects easy. The tool then automatically creates an invoice from this information. Each project features its associated tasks and sub-tasks with five different viewing options for work. The options are table, list, calendar, Gantt chart, and Kanban board.

A filter is available to help sort your client and project tasks according to priorities, due dates, and status, among others. You can also easily communicate with project collaborators, view timesheets, and save project files.

Paymo is an excellent option for businesses dealing in services directly offered to clients, which require invoicing and billing. For even better results, consider using Paymo’s integration feature that allows users to connect with calendar and accounting software. Paymo is available for Windows, Mac OS, iOS, Android, and Linux


If you are looking to organize your projects with Kanban boards, Trello will suit you best. The project management tool features an intuitive drag-and-drop interface that is easy to use. You can either create a new board from scratch or choose a template to start with. Several sectors have many templates, including sales, marketing, team management, and design.

While creating your Kanban boards, you can either use the standard Agile format or customize the boards according to the ideas and needs of your team. You can include various information in your cards that represent tasks. The information comprises checklists, labels, images, comments, attachments, due dates, custom fields, and checklists. 

Trello is available for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and the web. The tool also features integrations with several apps, including Google Calendar and Slack.

trello vs. asana
Trello has a drag-and-drop interface that is easy to use.

Find out how you can manage workflows and projects more efficiently by using Trello.


Nifty is a simple project management tool with many useful features for small businesses. It offers its users great customizable views, time tracking, user permissions, and controls across Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS platforms.

The tool features several useful project templates across most departments with an option to import projects and tasks from your previous project management tool. Nifty’s streamlined project dashboard gives users a great view of project members, recent activities, and outlines. 

With each project, you can set the default view to list, calendar, Kanban, roadmap, timeline, and swimlane. These configurations are available in settings. You can also easily toggle between these views through the Task tab in the top-right corner.

Nifty’s collaborations and communication features make discussing and commenting on projects with the involved players easy. Connecting to Zapier can also integrate Nifty with other useful apps like email. 


If you want customizable views, this project management tool will amaze you. ClickUp boasts 11 different viewing options for your tasks and projects. They include Scrum, Gantt, Kanban, timeline, workload, calendar, and mind map, among others. From these views, you can choose one for each project, which will be kept in the navigation menu. 

ClickUp’s customization capabilities extend further by allowing users to design the dashboard from more than 20 widgets. The tool also has several ClickApps, which help expand its features by adding custom fields, time tracking, sprints, and screen recording. 

The tool is available for Android, iOS, Windows, and Mac. The available integrations include G Suite, Slack, and Dropbox, among others. You can also add more integrations using Zapier.


Wrike is the best project management tool for spreadsheet lovers. The tool adds more advanced features and views to your spreadsheets, and the WrikeSync integration will push data to and from your spreadsheets. WrikeSync will also ensure Wrike data is sent to your database. The seamless email integration makes it easy to manage your projects by connecting your inbox activity to the tool. It is also possible to use Wrike instead of email.

Using this email integration, you can easily create, schedule and assign Wrike tasks, add attachments, update task status, designate task priorities, or add comments. You can also add multiple custom fields to your tasks, including percentage, currency, and priority levels. 

When dealing with development projects, consider paying attention to priority levels and progress via percentage. Wrike is available for Windows, Android, iOS, Mac, and the Web with several integrations, including Slack and Trello.

The Benefits of Using Project Management Tools for Your Business

Project management tools can offer the following benefits for your business.

They Show You the Scope of the Business

Using project management software, you can enter your resources, tasks, projects, and schedules into a system that will generate an illustration for you. This diagram can show you your entire project in a way that will make it easier to quickly comprehend. 

You can see the connections between every task, your team’s development, and the work left to be done on the project. This information can be used to make proper plans to complete your project. It also allows you to monitor your budget and track the resources being used.

kanban project management system approach

They Help in Task Assignment

You can better organize your tasks and projects by using project management software. Tasks may be rearranged and given to different individuals, and their priorities may need to be revised as needed. These tasks are frequently included in the software’s user interface, making it simple to modify your project tasks. This software can also update the task changes in your schedule, budget, and team communication channels. 

They Facilitate Better Communication

When working together toward a common objective, it is beneficial for teams to be aware of the project’s priorities and expectations. Clear team communication, which is crucial for project management, can be made possible by managing your project in one location with all timelines and tasks. Most project management software comes with a communication section. Teams can use this section not only to connect with one another, but also to record and refer to communication protocols for better understanding. 

They Help Organize and Streamline Project Activities

You have a place to enter each project component using project management software. Your project can stay organized if all your communications, files, and updates are in one place. This kind of software also offers pre-built organizational frameworks for producing graphics and flexible views of your project. You can easily manage other aspects of your business because you can quickly refer to a project’s components while working on it.

They Produce Feedback Reports

As noted above, project management software lets you document every project detail, putting all your data in one location. This involves keeping track of your budget, the number of people working on the project, and how long it takes to complete. You can later access this information in your software to assess how successfully you accomplished your objectives compared to earlier projects. You can also pull reports on how quickly the team finished their tasks to evaluate whether they achieved their objectives.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Project Management Tools for Your Business

Despite the hype surrounding popular project management software, software solutions are business specific. Workflows, resources, and workday demands vary from one business to the next. So how do you choose the best small business project management software? Here are some factors to consider.

Ease of Use

Some project management software is very complicated to use. Users may need several training days to adapt to its features. You must ensure that whatever software you invest in is simple. The product that you find easiest to use and that works for your team will best fit your business. Numerous tools allow you to test them out for free. So, you can decide whether to buy them or not before committing to a purchase. 

Scheduling Tools

Professional-grade scheduling tools are necessary if you want to be able to manage your projects effectively. Some tools display your project plans in the form of a task list rather than a chart. However, you may require an upgrade when your business grows and you need to manage bigger projects.

Time Sheets

Keep an eye out for project management software that has time sheets. Although they might not be the team’s first choice, they will help you track tasks. You can check the accuracy of your task estimates and receive early warnings about delays. Choose a product that makes it simple for your team to complete their time sheets. This type of tool allows you to duplicate the assignments and other activities from the previous week. 

Task Management

You’ll also need features for task management. This should include the ability to delegate tasks to team members so that they know the tasks they should concentrate on. You should be able to arrange the tasks in an order that makes sense. That entails placing them in a single group and including completion dates. Another advantage is the capacity to email notifications to the person assigned to the work. 

Team Sharing Capabilities

Sharing your plans and tasks with team members in your organization is one thing, but having the ability to collaborate seamlessly in real-time takes productivity and teamwork to another level. It would be best to search for functionality that also makes project data accessible to people outside your organization. This is particularly helpful when dealing with contractors, vendors, and stakeholders. It’s another justification for the success and popularity of cloud-based online software. 

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It is best to have a tool that is accessible to stakeholders both inside and outside the organization.

Dashboard Reports

It’s often helpful to have a tool that can display your reports graphically. Although it may not be the deciding factor when selecting project management software, many stakeholders and sponsors respond better to dashboards and charts than written reports. Look for a tool that includes dashboards that can be customized for each stakeholder. 

Real-Time Updates

Find a product with real-time reporting to save yourself some time. This will extract data from numerous areas of the project management tools and use it to generate reports showing the current status of every task and project.


Functionality is excellent, but your data must be secure to maintain the integrity of the project. Check out the security options that your preferred software provider offers. Make sure they have 128-bit encryption if they are hosting your software online. Use a different dedicated hosting platform to keep your customer data secure and isolated from every other software. 

Flexible Customizations

Although there are many types of reporting available in project management tools, having the option to add custom fields and exports will significantly enhance your experience. You should be able to make minor adjustments to the tool’s appearance to reflect your personal working preferences. Some will allow you to upload logos or even modify colors.

Reports and data columns are the most crucial areas for customization. With these options, you can choose how you want to present information to your stakeholders, giving you information about the project management requirements.


Since the project management workflows are your business’s foundation, all the apps in your tech stack must integrate. Get a project management tool that has excellent integration capabilities.

Bottom Line

Finding the right project management tool is crucial for small businesses to streamline their operations, improve collaboration, and increase productivity. With a wide range of options available, it’s important to assess your specific requirements and budget to determine the best fit for your organization.

Summary Table

Project Management ToolKey Features
AsanaFlexible organization, multiple views, custom templates, Zapier integration
PaymoBilling-centric, built-in timer, multiple viewing options, client and project filtering
TrelloKanban boards, drag-and-drop interface, customizable templates, various card information
NiftyCustomizable views, time tracking, user permissions, project templates
ClickUp11 viewing options, customizable dashboard, ClickApps for expanded features
WrikeAdvanced spreadsheet features, WrikeSync integration, email integration, custom fields

Frequently Asked Questions

What are project management tools?

Project management tools are software applications designed to help businesses plan, organize, and execute projects efficiently. They provide features such as task management, scheduling, collaboration, and reporting to streamline project workflows and enhance team productivity.

Why do small businesses need project management tools?

Project management tools are essential for small businesses as they help streamline project processes, improve team collaboration, and increase overall productivity. They provide a centralized platform to track tasks, manage deadlines, allocate resources, and monitor project progress, enabling small businesses to stay organized and deliver projects on time and within budget.

Can project management tools be customized for specific industries or project types?

Yes, many project management tools offer customization options to adapt to different industries or project types. They may provide templates, integrations, or customizable workflows to cater to specific needs. It’s recommended to explore the customization options offered by each tool and assess their suitability for your industry or project requirements.

How can project management tools benefit small businesses?

Project management tools offer several benefits for small businesses, including improved task management, streamlined communication, better collaboration, enhanced project visibility, efficient resource allocation, and comprehensive reporting. By leveraging these tools, small businesses can effectively manage projects, optimize team productivity, and achieve successful project outcomes.

What factors should I consider when choosing project management tools for my small business?

When selecting project management tools for your small business, consider factors such as your specific project management needs, team size, budget, ease of use, scalability, integration capabilities, and customer support. Assessing these factors will help you find a tool that aligns with your business requirements and ensures a smooth project management experience.

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