So, you’ve reached a critical juncture in your business: You’ve outgrown to-do apps and spreadsheets for task management and are looking to invest in a software solution. But, with so many project management platforms to choose from, picking the right one for your particular needs can be daunting. 

Fear not — you’ve come to the right place to learn all about the best project management software for small businesses. Whether you’re on the hunt for the best project management software for nonprofits or a growing startup, there are a few key features to look for when choosing the perfect platform for your operation. 

Who needs project management software?

First, let’s dispel the notion that only multimillion-dollar companies and corporate giants need a project management system. The truth is that organizations and businesses of all stripes can benefit from task management software, including startups, nonprofits, and even freelancers. 

Whether you’re a solopreneur or the CEO of a budding company, you’ll benefit from reliable project management software if you handle multiple clients, work on complex projects with many moving parts, or manage a group of collaborative teams. 

Why project management software is important

Before we dig into the specific project management software features you should be looking for, it’s important to understand why a dedicated PM system is critical to project — and overall business — success.

Here’s the thing: it’s absolutely possible to manage a project without a project management software solution. However, manually updating and keeping up with multiple spreadsheets is incredibly inefficient. Even worse, it significantly increases the risk of errors and oversights. 

Here are just a few reasons spreadsheets are not the ideal solution for project management:

  • Keeping up with the latest, most accurate version of the same spreadsheet can be difficult and time-consuming
  • Uploading and downloading the same spreadsheet multiple times and in multiple places compromises security
  • It’s easy to forget to manually update the spreadsheet after every task or action, which can cause confusion and delays in the project

The fact is, not using PM software can lead to inefficiency and wasted time. This ultimately puts your small business at risk of sub-par project delivery. 

What project management features do you need?

The particular features you’ll need in a PM software solution will depend on your specific operation. The best project management software for freelancers might not necessarily be the best project management software for startups, for example. 

However, there are some key features to keep in mind as you begin your search for a task management system for your business. Some of these include:

  • Document storing and sharing capabilities
  • Real-time collaboration that allows multiple people to access the system and make changes simultaneously
  • Real-time reporting with customizable reports and dashboards
  • Easy template creation and customization
  • Scheduling and schedule monitoring
  • Ability to track time, monitor progress, and manage labor and resource costs
  • Integration capabilities with other business software such as accounting, CRM, etc.
  • Resource allocation and role assignment
  • Customization for different project types and processes within your organization
  • Collaborative calendars
  • Real-time instant messaging and/or video chat
  • Knowledge database tool for documenting and accessing internal processes and best practices

How to choose the best project management software for small businesses

Now that you know some of the core features that are out there, it’s time to talk about how to choose the best project management software for your small business. 

Naturally, you’ll want to start by conducting research and narrowing down your field of options. You’ll be able to eliminate some platforms outright, either because they’re out of your price range or simply don’t offer the features you need. 

Once you’ve narrowed down your top software selections, ask yourself the following questions to help determine which one is right for you:

  • Is it easy to learn and use?
  • Will my team actually use it?
  • Does it support clear communication and project transparency?
  • Is it flexible?
  • Can multiple departments use it effectively?
  • Does it generate custom reports?
  • Does it allow secure external communications?
  • Does it integrate with other software my team and I use?
  • Is the software updated regularly with system improvements?

Of course, there will be a learning curve with any new software system you implement in your business. You will need to allow time for your team to get comfortable with the project management platform you choose. Many providers — including Wrike — offer a free trial period that will give you a chance to work with the software and see if it’s a good fit for your needs.

So, to recap: 

  1. Determine exactly what you need in a project management platform
  2. Research your options and narrow down the selection
  3. Choose the best project management software for your small business

Streamline your small business’ project management with Wrike

Ready to see why Wrike is the best choice for your small business’ project management needs? Take it for a free two-week test drive and find out!