By Reese Bourgeois

Improving team productivity is no easy task, but it is something that every business owner strives for. And as a small business owner in particular, with resources at a minimum, it can be an even bigger challenge.

And when you throw the idea of collaboration into the mix, things can get even more complex and challenging. Especially if you have some of your team members working remotely – at home, or perhaps in another location.

That is why I wanted to share three powerful and cost effective tools with you that can help bring your team collaboration and productivity to a new level.


Slack is all the rage at the moment, and for good reason. It helps improve team productivity by bringing communication and collaboration into one a central location. This ensures more work is done by eliminating the need to jump between tools as well as losing track of information.

With Slack, you can do things like

  • Have group conversions based on topics or projects
  • Have a private conversation when necessary too
  • Share files easily and in real time
  • Integrate external applications into the mix as well

Another thing worth noting is that Slack is also available on any device, which means that it possible to access from almost anywhere.

Once you get up and running, Slack will start to replace email, chat programs and the need to have files stored locally. All of which greatly helps both productivity and collaboration.


Trello is another powerful tool that makes project management and collaboration very easy to do.

Based on the Toyota Kanban system, Trello is actually quite a simple tool. It is primarily a series of cards and lists. Which in itself seems may not seem helpful. However, the power is in it’s ability to allow teams to collaborate on almost any kind of project.

It allows you to create cards where you can

  • Attach files, upload photos and videos
  • Customize workflows for different projects
  • Comment on items with your team
  • Monitor (or watch) items you are interested in
  • Track changes
  • Set due dates

And oh so much more…Trello is free and comes with options to upgrade to Gold for extra functionality, if that is something you need. There are also various Trello apps, including one that is optimized for the iPad Pro, with an astonishing amount of keyboard shortcuts to take full advantage of the larger canvas.

Google Drive

Google Drive enables you to have all your files within reach from any computer, tablet, or smartphone. Since it works on all platforms, you can start a new Google Document at your office computer, then go home and continue working on the same document on your laptop.

And that is where the power of the tool comes in for team collaboration and productivity. Instead of sharing your files by email, or having to create permissions and other complex structures to access them, your employees will use Google Drive instead.

Google Drive has built-in collaboration tools that allow all members of your team to work on the same document at the same time. On top of this, they can also be in completely different locations. This means employees can collaborate with their team members around the world, or in the same office. It’s that flexible.

You have a lot of powerful features with this tool too, such as:

  • Setting sharing permissions (to edit, comment, or view documents)
  • Search files by name
  • Enable viewing of files offline (so you can work on the go – or on a plane)
  • See file details and activity, view documents, including videos, photos, and PDFs.

You can also easily share files and folders, and see file details and activity in case tracking is an issue.

And, given the huge capacity Google provides to business account owners, you can also replace other file sharing services you might be using like Dropbox. Which means you can save money too!

As you can see, there are a lot of simple yet powerful tools around that can make a business owner’s life easier and more productive. Even when working with a team that might not be in the same location.

So, why not start of your new year with a new tool and increased productivity too.