If you have ever fallen victim to email that uses the entire colour spectrum to differentiate speakers, then these online collaboration tools for small businesses - which offer easy-to-use features - will seem like a godsend.

When small businesses reach a certain size, or have employees in different locations, a change in task management and communication becomes essential.

Many tools exist, but we've narrowed the search to eight of the top collaboration tools for small businesses to give you a head start on the search and to help you forever eliminate that painful refrain, ‘answers in chartreuse’:

The heavy hitters

1. Cisco Webex

Cisco Webex is a video conferencing tool that makes online collaboration as easy as pie. Its integrations with Salesforce, Office 365, and IFTTT make it the ultimate collaboration tool.

2. Basecamp

Basecamp can be described as simple, clean and intuitive. We recently did a more thorough review and description of how we get the most out of Basecamp.

3. Asana

Asana offers task management with its free version allowing for 30 members and unlimited tasks. Dedicated members of Asana like the three-window, simple interface, but do say it's more task driven than collaborative.

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4. Trello

Compared most often to Asana, Trello boasts a more attractive interface and the ability to drag-and-drop tasks. Trello receives positive reviews despite a few missing features and drawbacks.

5. Google Apps for Business

Google Apps for Business possesses multiple features like Hangout for meetings, Docs, Sheets, Slides for shared projects, Calendars and a few more options besides. And of course, their familiar interface keeps training to a minimum.

6. Clarizen

Clarizen is described as complex due to project management, budgeting, time tracking tools and multiple integrations with other applications. Clarizen is, however, ranked number one on TopTen Reviews.

7. Mindjet Connect

Mindjet Connect takes groups through brainstorming, organization, planning, and execution online. They are regarded highly for their mindmap tools, which will benefit some businesses more than others, but offer a lot of the same features as other collaboration sites.

8. Huddle

Huddle focuses on security and has some big names on their client list to prove it. If keeping your company’s shared files private is the priority, then this collaboration tool may be the one for you.

The choice is yours

Most online tools differ in price and advanced features, but strive to serve the same basic purposes for collaboration. Thankfully, the proliferation of tools out there means you can determine the top priorities in features for your business and then choose a tool which best matches your needs.

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