Best Project Management Software for Small Business 2022

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Best For

Overall

Best For

Small creative teams

Best For

Affordability

Best For

Ease of use

Best For

Remote working

Best For

Tracking Projects

Best For

Very basic projects

Price

$5 – tailored

Price

$8 – tailored

Price

$4 – $9

Price

$7 – tailored

Price

$10 – $18

Price

$9.80 – tailored

Price

$5 – $17.50

Free Plan
Free Plan
Free Plan
Free Plan
Free Plan
Free Plan
Free Plan

The best project management software for small business is provided by ClickUp. This is because it’s simple to use, offers a strong core feature set, and has some of the cheapest price plans on the market. It even has a generous free plan.

But ClickUp is just one of seven contenders. Let’s say you run a creative business you might find that monday.com better suits your needs, with its user-friendly interface and impressive collaborative tools. To learn more, though, you’ll need to keep reading.

Our top choices were selected after rigorously testing 14 project management systems, comparing them in the specific areas that matter most to small businesses: pricing, ease of use, and project creation features. 

We then cut the list in half, leaving seven systems that can boost efficiency and improve collaboration – all at affordable prices.

1. ClickUp

Best for Small Business Overall

ClickUp
4.7
Pricing $5-$19 per user per month
Quick overview

ClickUp is the best small business project management software, scoring 4.7/5 overall, because it offers impressive features at very low prices. Plain and simple. You can even try-before-you-buy with its generous free plan, which allows unlimited members to use Gantt charts and create unlimited projects and spaces.

The system itself is simple to use. You can amend almost anything on the page with a single click, turning time-consuming admin tasks into a seamless process.

Pros

Generous free plan – add unlimited users to create unlimited projects, at no cost

Quick and easy to use – get work done efficiently with its intuitive interface

Strong range of project management & workflow features – customize automations and project templates to build a software that suits your needs

Cons

Not the best collaboration tools – other platforms have better features

Sheer choice of features can feel daunting – potential learning curve for some new users

Pricing
PlanPaid yearlyPaid monthly
Free Forever $0 $0
Unlimited $5 per user per month $9 per user per month
Business $12 per user per month $19 per user per month
Business Plus $19 per user per month $29 per user per month
Enterprise Bespoke Bespoke

Does ClickUp have downsides? Only a couple. It doesn’t have the best tools for collaboration (monday.com has better), and the sheer scope for customization can feel daunting for newcomers.

However, ClickUp retains top spot thanks to its superb value for money and intuitive projection creation and workflow tools. After all, these are the key factors that small businesses need to grow.

How Does ClickUp Compare to Other Project Management Software for Small Businesses?

ClickUp is cheaper than monday.com, offering a generous free plan and paid tiers from just $5 per user, per month. However, our researchers rated monday.com 3.8/5 for Collaboration – the second best score – which is where ClickUp could improve.

As we mentioned, we found ClickUp really easy to use, making it a great option for small businesses. Here’s what our researcher says about it:

Our Experts Say

Clickup scored particularly well in Usability due to its user-interface and the dedicated features it provides. In terms of user-interface, with Clickup's ‘List View', tasks can be easily amended by the click of a mouse. It also features a vertical bookmark-style bar at the top of your project which makes it easy to access different tools.
James Macey
James Macey Product Researcher

James is part of our in-house insight team, responsible for testing the products and services we recommend so we can be confident in our analysis.

2. monday.com

Best for Small Creative Businesses

monday.com Logo
monday.com
4.7
Pricing $8 - $20 per user per month
Quick overview

monday.com is ideal for creative teams. It offers a visually-led interface and customizable project creation tools, enabling you to personalize dashboards to suit your preferences. What monday.com does particularly well is provide useful tools for collaboration, such as intuitive whiteboards, which are ideal for creative ideation sessions.

During our research, we also enjoyed testing the color-coded updates: green is done, orange is work in progress, and red means roadblock. These visual updates can help you overcome hurdles or delegate tasks more easily.

Pros

User-friendly – monday.com is simple to navigate for new users

Excellent automation builder – automating tasks is really easy to do

Great for collaboration – features such as interactive whiteboards make it easy to collaborate

Cons

Restrictive price plans – you may end up paying more than you need due to its pricing tiers based on the number of users

Limited customer support – other platforms, such as ClickUp, offer more ways to resolve problems

Pricing
PlanPaid yearlyPaid monthly
Free $0 $0
Basic $8 per user per month $12 per user per month
Standard $12 per user per month $14.50 per user per month
Pro $20 per user per month $25 per user per month
Enterprise Bespoke Bespoke

monday.com does pricing differently from the other platforms on our list. Instead of charging per user, it charges per ‘seat’ (the size of your team) in increments of 3, 5, 10, 15, 20, and so on – up to 200+.

That means, even if you only have four people on your team, you’ll still need to pay for five at $40 per month on the Basic plan, when billed annually. This could be frustrating, depending on the size of your small business. We recommend trying monday.com’s 14-day free trial to see which plan would suit you best.

How Does monday.com Compare to Other Project Management Software for Small Businesses?

monday.com offers really useful collaboration tools, including whiteboards that are slightly more intuitive and powerful than ClickUp's. However, our researchers rated ClickUp and Zoho Projects as better value for money options than monday.com.

Our researchers agree that monday.com is really easy to use, with intuitive Kanban boards and Gantt charts. Here's what our expert researcher says about monday.com:

Our Experts Say

monday.com takes the highly customisable approach to project management, enabling users to add as much or as little detail as they want. This is facilitated by its system called ‘Items', which includes customisable rows that can be used to represent tasks.
James Macey
James Macey Product Researcher

James is part of our in-house insight team, responsible for testing the products and services we recommend so we can be confident in our analysis.

3. Zoho Projects

Best for Affordability

Zoho Projects
4.5
Pricing $4 - $9 per user per month
Quick overview

Zoho Projects won the best Pricing score (4.7/5) in our research. It’s very cheap. With a free plan and paid tiers from just $4 per user, per month, it’s the best project management system for small businesses that prioritize saving money.

Its core features won’t disappoint, either. We particularly liked the time-tracking feature that helps you deliver projects on time, plus the range of collaboration features including an instant messenger and project message board.

Pros

Cheapest software on this list – save money with price plans from just $4/user/month

Strong task management features – Zoho Projects makes it easy to track your progress

Good range of collaborative tools – chat with colleagues to get work done more

Cons

Not the best user-experience – there are software with more intuitive interfaces

Very limited customer support – you might get frustrated by the lack of options

Pricing
PlanPaid yearlyPaid monthly
Free $0 $0
Premium $4 per user per month $5 per user per month
Enterprise $9 per user per month $10 per user per month

How Do Zoho Projects Compare to Other Project Management Software for Small Businesses?

Zoho Projects is cheaper than ClickUp and monday.com, offering excellent value price plans. On the other hand, our researchers gave ClickUp, monday.com, and Teamwork better Features scores, which means they offer a wider range of tools than Zoho Projects.

Not only is Zoho Projects affordable, it offers some impressive features designed to help you view your progress, as our dedicated researchers say:

Our Experts Say

Zoho Projects provides a good experience when it comes to understanding project progress. It provides dedicated functionality to allow users to react to different scenarios such as its ‘Resource Utilisation Chart' and ‘Discuss' features. It also provides features which help users understand the progress of their project such as the ‘Planned vs Actual Chart'.
James Macey
James Macey Product Researcher

James is part of our in-house insight team, responsible for testing the products and services we recommend so we can be confident in our analysis.

4. Smartsheet

Best for Ease of Use

Smartsheet
4.3
Pricing $7 - $25 per user per month
Quick overview

Smartsheet is easy to use for anyone. But if you’re an Excel whizz, you’ll find it as easy as ABC thanks to its spreadsheet interface. Smartsheet is different from ClickUp, monday.com, or Zoho Projects in that it works like a collaborative version of Google Sheets or Microsoft Excel.

With Smartsheet, you can customize spreadsheet cells with ease, and to your heart’s content, allowing you to customize conditional formatting and changeable column types. For basic project management, you won’t find anything easier.

Pros

Very easy to use – you can create projects quickly without any learning curve

Perfect solution for Excel users – you’ll hit the ground running if you’re familiar with spreadsheets

Brilliant project creation features – Smartsheet offers lots of customization

Cons

Relatively expensive – not the best option if you’re looking to cut costs

Not the best collaboration features – other platforms, such as Teamwork, make it easier to communicate with colleagues

Pricing
PlanPaid yearlyPaid monthly
Pro $7 per user per month $9 per user per month
Business $25 per user per month $32 per user per month
Enterprise Bespoke Bespoke

How Does Smartsheet Compare to Other Project Management Software for Small Businesses?

Smartsheet is easier to use than Zoho Projects and monday.com, especially if you’re competent with spreadsheets. However, our researchers gave Smartsheet the worst Pricing rating (3.4/5) of any platform on this list, way behind ClickUp (4.4/5) and Zoho Projects (4.7/5). This means Smartsheet is poor value for money.

As we're always saying, Smartsheet is really simple to use if you're familiar with Excel, and our researchers agree:

Our Experts Say

Smartsheet's spreadsheet format makes it very straightforward to update information to reflect any changes which happen in real-time. Also, task re-allocation and budget updates can be done from this view without the need to dig through menus.
James Macey
James Macey Product Researcher

James is part of our in-house insight team, responsible for testing the products and services we recommend so we can be confident in our analysis.

5. Teamwork

Best for Remote Working

Teamwork
4.3
Pricing $10 - $18 per user per month

Teamwork is the best project management system for small businesses with remote workers. In our testing, we awarded Teamwork 4/5 for Collaboration – the highest score – which means it has all the tools you need to communicate and deliver projects efficiently, no matter where you’re based.

For example, Teamwork provides preset charts that give quick visual overviews of how and where a project is going, allowing anyone to assess the team’s needs more effectively. You can also leave live comments in documents, or chat with colleagues via Teamwork’s instant messenger.

Pros

Best platform for collaboration – Teamwork’s communication features make it the best software for remote workers

Comprehensive customer support – get issues fixed quickly and get back to project planning

Good user-experience for project tracking – tracking your progress is really easy on Teamwork

Cons

Less expensive options available – it’s not the most cost effective software on the market

No automation features – you can’t streamline everyday tasks like you can on other software

Pricing
PlanPaid yearlyPaid monthly
Deliver $10 per user per month $12.50 per user per month
Grow $18 per user per month $22.50 per user per month
Scale Bespoke Bespoke

How Does Teamwork Compare to Other Project Management Software for Small Businesses?

Teamwork has brilliant collaboration tools, which is where ClickUp and Trello could improve. However, our researchers rated ClickUp 4.3/5 for Project Creation and Workflow, which, as an important area for small businesses, is where Teamwork performs poorly.

Teamwork has the right tools to help you collaborate with colleagues remotely, but it also has an enjoyable user-experience:

Our Experts Say

Teamwork provides a lot of dedicated features for each aspect of a project, and places these within a tidy interface. It uses a system of tabs which makes the majority of its features easy to find and, subsequently, use.
James Macey
James Macey Product Researcher

James is part of our in-house insight team, responsible for testing the products and services we recommend so we can be confident in our analysis.

6. Wrike

Best for Tracking Projects

Wrike
4.2
Pricing $9.80 - $24.80 per user per month
Quick overview

Wrike’s a winner when it comes to tracking projects. For starters, you can amend projects easily from its spreadsheet-like ‘Table’ view. On this page, you can simply update cells with task reallocations, time-frame changes, or budget updates – all in one sheet.

We were also impressed by Wrike’s Office Timeline integration. This enables you to create Gantt charts and timelines easily from any of your projects, giving you a more visual overview of your project’s progress.

Pros

User-friendly project tracking tools – Wrike’s biggest asset is its user-friendly approach to project tracking

Good project creation and workflow features – creating projects is relatively straightforward

Cons

Relatively expensive – you don’t get the best value for money with Wrike

Not the best option for collaboration – it can be difficult to stay connected with other members

Limited customer support – other platforms, like ClickUp, offer more ways to contact support

Pricing
PlanPaid monthly
Team $9.80 per user per month
Business $24.80 per user per month

How Does Wrike Compare to Other Project Management Software for Small Businesses?

For tracking projects alone, Wrike is more user-friendly than monday.com and Smartsheet. However, our researchers gave Wrike one of the lowest Pricing scores (3.5/5), which means it isn’t the best value for money option.

Wrike has some impressive project tracking, but it loses points in the user-experience department for most other project management tasks, as our researchers say:

Our Experts Say

Wrike provides a straight-forward way of setting up a project. It provides dedicated features for tasks, milestones, and dependencies. This enables the user to organise their project quite quickly. However, Wrike is mainly let down by its automation builder. It's not easy to find – as it is buried amongst system settings – and it proved harder to use than other platforms.
James Macey
James Macey Product Researcher

James is part of our in-house insight team, responsible for testing the products and services we recommend so we can be confident in our analysis.

7. Trello

Best for Very Basic Projects

Trello
4
Pricing $5-$17.50 per user per month
Quick overview

Trello is great for very basic task management. It offers an intuitive, kanban-style interface that allows you to edit items with a simple click. There isn’t an overwhelming number of buttons, either. These factors helped Trello earn an impressive 4.3/5 Customer Score in our research, which means it has really positive online reviews.

For any vaguely complex task, you’ll struggle. For example, there isn’t an effective workaround for resource management. Instead, you’ll have to manually set those up. But overall, Trello is an excellent choice for very small teams undertaking very simple projects.

Pros

Great for very basic tasks – Trello is ideal for very basic projects

Clean interface – the uncluttered interface is easy to navigate

Cons

Very limited project management features – we don’t recommend Trello for any vaguely complex projects

Pricing
PlanPaid yearlyPaid monthly
Standard $5 per user per month $6 per user per month
Premium $10 per user per month $12.50 per user per month
Enterprise $17.50 per user per month N/A (only billed annually)

How Does Trello Compare to Other Project Management Software for Small Businesses?

Trello has a better Customer Score (4.3/5) than Smartsheet, Teamwork, and Wrike, meaning it has more positive online reviews. However, Trello has the worst Features rating (2.6/5) of any platform here, which means it lacks the tools you need to manage medium to large projects.

For very basic projects, Trello does great. However, our researchers don't believe it has the tools to help you manage complicate tasks:

Our Experts Say

Trello excels in basic task management. It has a simple interface where most things can be edited via a click of the mouse. It doesn’t overcrowd its interface with too many buttons, which makes navigation easier compared to other platforms. However, Trello is less competitive with the more in-depth aspects of project setup, namely budget and task dependencies.
James Macey
James Macey Product Researcher

James is part of our in-house insight team, responsible for testing the products and services we recommend so we can be confident in our analysis.

How Did We Find the Best Project Management Software for Small Businesses?

Here at Expert Market, we have an independent team of researchers that carries out thorough analysis on all the topics we write about. That team of experts finds the best providers or services on the market, rigorously tests them first-hand, then collaborates with our team of writers. This allows us to create research-backed articles about the best project management software for small businesses.

For this article, our researchers tested 14 different platforms and compared them in specific categories, focusing on the areas that matter most to small businesses: pricing, usability, and core features. They put each software through their paces and rated them out of five in these areas:

  • Usability – the user experience and simplicity of tasks
  • Pricing – the software’s value for money
  • Customer Support – the available customer support options
  • Features – broken down into Task Management, Project & Management Workflow Creation, Data Visualization, and Collaboration
  • Customer Score – aggregate of consumer scores on sites like G2 and Trustpilot
Verdict

ClickUp offers the best project management software for small businesses. That’s because it has everything your small business needs to grow it’s cheap and user-friendly, with an impressive set of core features. So, let’s recap the scores.

Our researchers gave ClickUp 4.4/5 for Pricing and 4/5 for Usability, which translates into an easy-to-use, cost-effective software. While monday.com has better, more visual collaboration tools, ClickUp retains top spot thanks to its superb value for money, and user-friendly approach to project creation and workflows.

FAQs

Why should a small business use a project management software?
These systems can help you get work done more efficiently, making it easier for your small business to collaborate and grow. For a few dollars per month, you can prioritize key tasks, see your progress in realtime, and streamline everyday tasks to help boost efficiency and reduce admin tasks.
Do I need to upgrade to a paid plan or is a free plan enough for a small business?
Some free plans, like ClickUp’s, are genuinely impressive. However, you’ll likely find free plans too restrictive if you want to grow your small business. With most providers, you’ll need to upgrade to paid plans if you want advanced features like Gantt charts or workflow automation. You can find cheap paid plans, though – ClickUp’s paid plans start from just $5 per user, per month.
What’s the best project management software for small teams?
ClickUp is the best software for small teams. It has cheap price plans, user-friendly project creation tools, and an interface that’s quick and easy to master. It also has an impressive free plan to help you get started.

Dan’s a Senior Writer at Expert Market, specialising in digital marketing, web design, and photocopiers, amongst other topics.