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12 Best Project Management Tools for Small Businesses

April 20, 2022

12 Best Project Management Tools for Small Businesses
Ketheren Thorn
Ketheren Thorn

It’s pretty obvious that small organizations have a completely different structure than large enterprises. While big companies have separate departments for everything, you might find yourself juggling multiple operational, administrative, and even creative tasks at the same time in a small business. 

This makes it especially important to find a project management tool that suits the needs of a small organization. Often, you may not have the budget for a full-time project manager, leaving you to manage tasks and projects with limited resources.

In this blog, we will compare the 12 best project management tools for small businesses to help small organizations thrive. We will discuss the features and cost of each tool, while also providing an overview of Rodeo Software, a project management tool designed specifically for small businesses.

This article covers: 

What small businesses should look for in a project management tool

For small businesses, finding the right project management software can be quite a challenge. What kind of budget do you need? Which features are must-have vs nice-to-have? Can the team start using it with little to no training?

Read also: Choosing A Project Management Tool: 5 Essential Criteria

There are many factors to consider, from cost to features to ease of use. To make this easier, here are the top 3 factors you need to keep in mind:

Scalability

One important thing to look for in project management software is scalability. As your business grows, you need a project management solution that can grow with you. After all, switching platforms down the road can be chaotic.

Look for software that offers both basic and advanced features, so you can start with a simple solution and upgrade as your needs change.

Read also: How To Scale Your Creative Business: 7 Practical Tips

User-friendliness

Making sure the user interface (UI) is easy to use is another important aspect to look at. Imagine spending a lot of time trying to learn how to use a new tool or constantly onboarding new members... what a drag!

Especially for small businesses, having a platform that is intuitive and easy to use will help ensure that even those who aren't tech-savvy can easily learn to navigate through it.

Affordability

Another important factor to consider when choosing project management software is cost. For small businesses, it's important to find a solution that won't break the bank but still offers all the features you need.

Some project management tools offer a true one-stop-shop that accommodates your needs for a reasonable price, while others rely on third-party integrations.

It's important to take that into consideration as integrations mean additional subscriptions, more complexity, and inevitably making it more expensive than what you have budgeted for.

Read also: How to Integrate Your Workflows without Integrations

Be sure to compare pricing plans and look for discounts or free trials before making your final decision.

Best project management software for small business

Now that you know what to look for in a project management tool, let's take a look at 12 of the best options for small businesses.

#1 Rodeo

Rodeo Software is a project management tool that is designed to help small businesses optimize their profits while working efficiently toward delivering projects on time.

It offers all the features you need to manage your projects, without any of the bells and whistles that can add unnecessary complexity (and cost).

The tool has a simple interface that is easy to navigate, even for those who aren't tech-savvy. It includes features like budgeting, time-tracking, task lists, and reporting that help you plan and execute projects efficiently and effectively.

Rodeo project management dashboard view

Features

What makes Rodeo the perfect project management tool for small businesses is its variety of functions. As small businesses have limited resources, a tool that offers a true all-in-one solution can help save time and money. Let's take a look at these features:

  • Budgeting: Rodeo's budgeting feature is a great way to keep track of your project costs and spending. To create a new project, simply click the Create Project button and follow the on-screen instructions. Then, easily add an activity to your schedule with its costs, hours needed, and hourly rate for the job. This makes it easy to see how much each task will cost and helps you stay within budget.

  • Estimates: If you work with clients, once you finished budgeting for a project it's time to send an estimate or proposal. Instead of creating a document to enter line by line everything you've created in the budget tab, Rodeo allows you to simply click the 'Estimate' button right from the budget view to generate an estimate with your company's branding and details in it.

    Choose which columns and lines should be displayed and in just a few minutes you have a client-ready estimate document ready to be emailed — which can be done right from Rodeo. You also have the option to download the estimate in case you prefer to send it through a different channel or mail it instead. Easy right? This feature also comes in handy for those who don't work with clients but need to send the estimated budget to a different department or team member for approval. Follow the same steps and get your project approved a lot quicker.

  • Planning: Congratulations, your budget was approved. Now what? Resource and capacity management is a huge aspect of every project and keeping track of the to-do's and timelines can be a challenge. That's when Rodeo's planner and task manager come to the rescue, offering you the option to assign tasks based on skills and/or availability. That way, you optimize your resources and ensure team members are not overscheduled.


    Assigning tasks in Rodeo
  • Time-tracking: Accurately knowing how long a task takes to be completed is crucial to forecasting future projects. If you are spending more time than projected to accomplish a task or a phase of the project, it can affect your margins and profits too. Rodeo solves this by offering a built-in time tracker so that users can keep track and log the time spent on each task through simple to use time-cards. Once time is tracked or logged into Rodeo, the project's budget is automatically updated to give you real-time insights into your margins.

Rodeo software reporting feature

  • Invoicing: Similar to estimates, Rodeo makes it easy for you to invoice clients. Choose between sending a full invoice, splitting projects into phases, or setting recurring invoices right from a project. Plus, Rodeo integrates with QuickBooks online so that you can get paid faster.

  • Reporting: There is nothing like having peace of mind by knowing where your business stands. With real-time insights and comprehensive reports, Rodeo gives you a full 360 view into the health of your projects (and business), making it a true all-in-one project management tool.

Rodeo's additional features

  • Purchase Orders
  • Expenses
  • Messenger
  • Contact management

What customers are saying about Rodeo?

Being able to measure whether estimations match the actual cost and time going into projects is essential for Axell Avalon-van Staveren, Brand Director of Digital Agency JaxX.

With that in mind, Axell shares: "Using Rodeo has made our projects about 30% more profitable. Once we started using the time tracker, we had an accurate overview of how much time team members really needed to complete their projects. For the first time, we were able to pinpoint discrepancies exactly in comparison with our estimates."

For BAIT Studios Managing Director, Peter Rogers, Rodeo helped their projects become more cost-efficient while also delivering far more detailed updates to clients. Since clients will call you without notice asking for project updates, Peter says, "With Rodeo, we can see exactly what’s going on with our projects, providing much more context to base updates on."

Additionally, the fact that projects and budgets are interconnected is a big differentiator for Peter "...what really adds to how you track your projects, is being able to see the updates converted to cash. With every decision or move we make, we immediately see the effects of added spending."

Pricing

  • Free trial: Yes
  • Base price: $29.99 user/month
  • Additional full user license (project managers): $14.99 user/month
  • Additional standard user license (creatives): $8.99 user/month

Start a 14-day free trial with Rodeo

#2 Trello

Trello is a project management tool that offers a simple and visual way to manage tasks and projects. It is great for small businesses because it is easy to use and does not require a lot of training.

The downside though is that the tool isn't very scalable since it only offers basic project management features, meaning you would need a different tool for financial aspects such as invoicing, expenses, estimates, time-tracking, and so on.

Trello's popular features

  • Task lists
  • Kanban boards
  • Calendar view
  • File attachments
  • Card labels and filters

Trello board view

Pricing

  • Free trial: Yes
  • Standard: $6 user/month
  • Premium: $12.50 user/month
  • Enterprise: $25 user/month

#3 Asana

Asana is a project management tool that focuses on task management. It offers a variety of features, including task lists, Gantt charts, file attachments, and more.

The tool relies heavily on integrations in order to offer you an all-in-one solution, which leads to costly monthly fees as you start scaling.

Read also: Asana vs. Rodeo: What Are The Exact Differences?

Asana's popular features

  • Task lists
  • Gantt charts
  • Custom workflow
  • Templates
  • Reporting

Asana automation example

Pricing

  • Free trial: Yes
  • Standard: $6 user/month
  • Premium: $12.50 user/month
  • Enterprise: $25 user/month

#4 Wrike

Wrike is a project management tool that helps teams manage tasks, projects, and goals in one place. Although the tool is best suited for enterprise-level companies, Wrike is very scalable, offering businesses a single place for all projects. However, the learning curve is longer and onboarding can take longer than expected for smaller teams.

Wrike's popular features

  • Activity Tracking
  • Asset Sharing
  • Backlog Management
  • Campaign Management
  • Advanced Analytics

Wrike's report view

Pricing

  • Free: up to 5 users
  • Professional: $9.80 user/month 
  • Business: $24.80 user/month
  • Enterprise: Pricing can be requested on their website   

#5 Smartsheet

With a number of intuitive project management features, Smartsheet is designed to help businesses plan, organize, track, and automate their processes. As the name suggests, the tool's interface resembles spreadsheets, making its familiar look an advantage for those who need a quicker onboarding.

The downside is that the platform isn't as comprehensive, so teams that are already scaling might find the tool a bit too basic for their overall needs.

Smartsheet's popular features

  • Forms
  • Grid and Gantt charts
  • File attachments
  • Reporting
  • Templates

Smartsheet's dashboard

Pricing

  • Free trial: Yes 
  • Pro: $9 user/month 
  • Business: $32 user/month 
  • Enterprise: Pricing can be requested on their website 

#6 Basecamp

If you are often collaborating with clients on projects, Basecamp could be the solution for you. The tool enables teams to manage tasks and projects, while also offering a client-facing view that allows your team to get real-time input from a client for specific projects.

Features include task management, documents and file storage, and a live chat. One of the biggest cons users come across is the UI, which can be confusing and is not at all user-friendly.

Compare: Rodeo vs Basecamp

Basecamp's popular features

  • Client-portal
  • Collaborative boards
  • File attachments
  • Document sharing
  • Built-in chat

Basecamp highlights

Pricing

  • Personal: Free
  • Business: $99 month 

#7 monday.com

Monday.com helps businesses to track and manage projects, as well as communicate with team members. The tool has a number of features that makes it an attractive option for small businesses, including its low price point and the potential for those who are ready for scaling.

However, its limited project management capabilities and lack of customer support can be a big drawback, especially for such a complex tool.

Although supper flexible and with an abundance of possibilities, monday.com users often rely on highly specialized people with workflow knowledge, which might not be ideal for smaller teams. Plus, the platform also relies on integrations with very few native features.

Read also: Monday.com Vs. Rodeo: What Are The Exact Differences?

Monday.com's popular features

  • Task management
  • Time tracking
  • Automated workflows
  • Third-party integrations
  • CRM

Monday.com overview

Pricing

  • Basic: $10 user/month 
  • Standard: $12 user/month  
  • Pro: $20 user/month 
  • Enterprise: Pricing can be requested on their website 

#8 HoneyBook

Honeybook is a project management tool for small businesses that helps to streamline project workflow and communication. It's an all-in-one platform that provides a central location for managing project deadlines, files, invoices, and client communications. Honeybook is an affordable solution for those who need a simple way to manage projects and clients. However, it is not without its drawbacks.

One downside of Honeybook is that some users have found the interface to be confusing and user-unfriendly. Because the platform operates on the principle of a sales funnel, this can be a challenge for those looking to just migrate long-term clients and ongoing projects into the system.

HoneyBook's popular features

  • Proposals & invoicing
  • Task management
  • Automated workflows
  • Billing

Pricing

  • Free trial: Yes
  • Unlimited monthly: $39 
  • Unlimited annual: $390 

#9 nTask

Designed to fulfill the needs of small businesses, nTask is a project management tool that offers a variety of features including task lists, calendars, and project notes. The platform also includes built-in time tracking and reporting tools to help businesses keep tabs on project progress.

Some users have complained that nTask can be difficult to learn and use and that its project management features are not as robust as those offered by other tools. Overall, nTask is a helpful tool for small businesses looking to get organized, but it may not be the best option for businesses with more complex project management needs.

nTask's popular features

  • Resource management
  • Task management
  • File and comment sharing
  • Time tracking

nTask project management

Pricing

  • Free trial: Yes
  • Premium: $4 user/month
  • Business: 12 user/month
  • Enterprise: Pricing can be requested on their website 

#10 Airtable

Airtable is a project management tool that has been getting rave reviews from small businesses. Its flexibility and ease of use are top-notch, and it integrates with a wide range of other business tools. However, some users have found it difficult to get started with Airtable, and the learning curve can be a bit steep.

Compared to other tools in this list, Airtable lacks some more robust features, for example, their kanban board isn't very intuitive. If you are using the free version, you will notice a lack of organizational functions too.

Airtable's popular features

  • Automations
  • Task management
  • Templates
  • Dashboards

Pricing

  • Free: up to 5 users
  • Plus: $12 user/monthly
  • Pro: $24 user/monthly
  • Enterprise: Pricing can be requested on their website 

#11 Teamwork

Teamwork is a project management tool designed to help small businesses manage projects and team members. It includes features such as task lists, file sharing, time tracking, and progress reports. The platform also offers a free version for businesses with up to five users. However, the free version can be too limited, and a few users have complained about the user interface.

Overall, Teamwork is a good option for a small business looking for a simpler way to keep track of their projects and team members.

Read also: Best Teamwork Alternatives in 2022 [In Depth Review]

Teamwork's popular features

  • Project templates
  • Task management
  • Reports
  • Time tracking

Teamwork overview screen

Pricing

  • Free forever: up to 5 users
  • Deliver: $10 user/month
  • Grow: $18 user/month
  • Scale: Pricing can be requested on their website 

#12 Zoho Projects

Zoho Projects offers a range of features, including task management, team collaboration, time tracking, and project reporting, which is perfect for scaling teams. The platform also integrates with other Zoho products, such as Zoho Mail, Zoho CRM, and Zoho Invoice.

Some users have criticized the software for being too complex and difficult to use, especially for small businesses. Because it relies on a series of integrations, including its add-on product for invoicing and contact management, the overall cost can be a lot higher than other solutions on this list.

Zoho Projects' popular features

  • Task management
  • Time tracking
  • Charts & reports
  • Team collaboration
  • Zoho integrations

Zoho Projects - Online project management software

Pricing

  • Free: up to 3 users
  • Premium: $5 user/month
  • Enterprise: $10 user/month

Takeaways

Which project management tool is best for your small business? It depends on your needs and budget.

If you are looking for a tool with robust features that are scalable and also budget-friendly, Rodeo might be the right choice for you. Since Rodeo offers several native features, you will be able to have a better insight into your projects and profits.

Plus, the best part about choosing a true all-in-one project management solution is that you will save on unnecessary tools (and subscriptions) — helping your projects to run smoothly.

However, if you are on a tight budget and don't need a lot of features quite yet, Airtable or Teamwork could be a better option.

No matter which tool you choose, make sure to take advantage of free trials to see if it's the right fit for your business.

Happy project managing! :)

Start a 14-day free trial with Rodeo

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