Tools for collaboration

collaboration
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Many small business owners responded to our call for tech submissions with their recommendations for communication and collaboration tools. With more people working remotely than ever before, there has been a surge of business-ready solutions to make getting and staying in touch easier. These were the most frequently recommended tools from entrepreneurs and small business owners we spoke to.

Slack

slack collaboration school
Slack is wildly popular with small business owners across all industries. We got recommendations for Slack from founders of human resources companies, PR firms, CRM software startups, travel services, ecommerce sites and independent for-profit schools.

Slack is a robust chat tool that allows you to create different channels, send direct messages, and even carry out video or voice calls. You can easily share files through Slack, and you can integrate all your other apps and messengers into Slack so all your notifications show up in one place. There is a free version for small teams, but it offers limited functionality. For $6.67 per user per month, you get more features, but for $12.50 per user per month, you get a 99 percent uptime guarantee.

UberConference

UberConference collaboration tool
Most of the entrepreneurs who recommended UberConference for hosting conference calls also mentioned having lots of international clients and partners. UberConference provides the ability to host as many conference calls as you like, without a PIN to join the conversation. You can even set up the phone conference so that each attendee is called at the start of each meeting; all they have to do is pick up their phones to join in. There is a free option for up to 10 users, but for $10 per month per user, it offers tons more features, including analytics, custom call-in numbers and custom hold music.

Erika Couto, the founder of leadership and PR firm Erika Couto Consulting Ltd., said she likes UberConference because it's so accessible: "I meet with clients all around the world who don't always have the best access to internet for Skype or videoconferencing, but everyone has a cell phone. Their toll-free phone conferencing option makes it easy for us to meet, and their built-in recording features means that I don't have to take notes or try to remember inspired ideas for sales copy or pitches on the phone."

Zoom

Zoom collaboration tool
Many small business owners who recommended using Slack also recommended Zoom. Zoom is a user-friendly video and web conferencing service that offers a free version (with limited functionality), as well as multiple paid versions that start at $14.99 per month per user and go up to $19.99 per month per user.

Beckie Manley, the founder of branding firm Fierce Strategy + Creative, said, "Just today we chatted with vendors and clients from Nigeria to North Carolina. Our collective model has been made effective by two tools that we use every day: Slack and Zoom […] Zoom has been an incredible resource that we use daily, sometimes hourly, to communicate with our staff, clients and vendors."