Improve Team Communication with Chat!

Want a simple way to improve communication in your business? Faster than email and easier than phone calls, instant messaging is a convenient way to ask simple questions, share ideas, and send information. You and your staff can also use chat platforms for real-time collaboration with file-sharing capabilities, audio and video calls, project management, and more.

Here are five affordable and easy-to-use chat tools for small businesses. The best part is they all offer free plans for small business users.


Slack offers a robust and comprehensive chat tool for small businesses. In addition to one-on-one and group chat, Slack comes with individual and team audio calls and video conferencing. Slack is also cool for collaboration. Users can organize multiple projects, teams, and other items using hashtags, as well as share files by dragging and dropping them into the platform or via Google Drive, Dropbox, and other file-sharing services. 

Third-party integrations include Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides for sharing and viewing files within conversations and during calls.

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams is a software as a service that ties directly to the productivity giant’s Office 365 subscription. It creates a chat-based workspace that’s focused on real-time collaboration. It looks a bit like Slack and functions similarly, with threaded persistent chats that can be open or private. It also integrates with the company’s Skype video service, plus you can invite guests to join your chats. If you’re a Microsoft-focused business, Teams may be the way to go.


Part of the Basecamp project management software, Campfire is a web-based chat tool that eliminates the need to install any instant messaging apps or clients. You simply create a password-protected chat room and invite team members to chat. Users can share files with live previews within chat rooms; supported files include image files (PNG, JPG and GIF), Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

The service also comes with such extras as conference calling, chat transcripts, and add-ons for integration with popular Windows and Mac business software.

Google Chat 

Per Google – “Chat makes it easy for teams to be able to get their work done in one place. From direct messages to group conversations, Chat helps teams collaborate easily and efficiently. With dedicated, virtual rooms to house projects over time — plus threaded conversations — Chat makes it simple to track progress and follow up tasks. Chat currently supports 28 languages and each room can support up to 8,000 members.”

Skype for Business

Skype’s free plan offers a bit more latitude with group video calling for up to 20 people, Skype-to-Skype chat and voice calling, group voice calls for up to 25 people, screen sharing as well as file sharing. Skype for Business has four higher-tier plans. 

Which every platform you choose, remember, keep it simple. If your current ecosystem provides a built-in chat app, it may be in your best interest to use it. That being said, although, my company is run on G Suite, we use Slack 🙂

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