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Streamline Your Business Operations with These Workflow Applications

So someone said you need a workflow application but you don’t know where to start looking?

I’ve got you covered.

Workflow applications are powerful tools that can transform everyday business processes. But it can be difficult to know which ones are best for your business and why.

Let’s dive into what workflow applications are, why you need them, and some of the best on the market.

What are workflow applications?

Workflow applications are software designed to make your life easier. Their basic function is organizing the tasks in a workflow. But it’s more than a digital to-do list. They come with other features that make work so much better.

Workflow applications can: 

  • Automate tasks
  • Assign roles
  • Set dues dates
  • Analyze data
  • Integrate with other applications

And a lot more!

Challenges of workflow applications

The biggest challenge of using workflow applications is not the construction of the workflow itself, but rather the maintenance.

You can’t make a workflow and then say, “Yup, that’ll do,” and then never touch it again. It doesn’t work like that. You will never optimize your business processes if you carry that sort of attitude.

You have to constantly update and change parts of your workflows to make sure they are running at their best. This can be a tedious and time-consuming process, but it’s necessary. If you don’t do regular maintenance on your workflows, you run the risk of:

  • Creating miscommunication
  • Forgetting/skipping important tasks
  • Giving approvals without testing
  • Assigning tasks to the wrong people
  • Making inaccurate estimates of times/costs

Benefits of workflow applications

Though there are significant challenges to workflow applications, the benefits far outweigh them.

Less waste

But what do I mean by less waste? Less wasted time? Less wasted energy? Less wasted money? Less wasted resources?

Yes. Yes, to all of them!

Making workflows is the practice of standardizing your business processes and by doing that, you cut a lot of waste out of your company. 

And if there’s one thing most humans can agree on, it’s that waste is bad.

Better communication

Workflows make it clear who is responsible for which task. If a deliverable isn’t completed on time, workflows make it very easy to know who to talk to about it.

Additionally, most workflow applications come with different communication features like chat rooms or comment boxes where employees can talk. That reduces the risk of notes, questions, or concerns falling through the cracks and keeps communication more centralized.

Improved productivity

With things like less wasted time and better communication occur when you start using workflow applications, the natural consequence of that is increased productivity.

And if you automate tedious, recurring tasks and save your team even more time, they will be able to dedicate more of their hours to high-value tasks. That leads to increased sales, better customer relationships, and more profits overall.

You can even give your company a competitive edge by including educational resources in your workflows. By doing that you can keep your team up to date on industry trends, new technologies, anything!

That’s a huge win!

1. Process Street: Best for recurring processes

Process Street specializes in making recurring processes seamless and easy for businesses large and small. With it, you can make checklists that can be automated to make everyone’s lives easier and take boring, repetitive work off of employees’ plates.

It differs from project management software because it keeps all the long-term information about company processes in one place. It keeps things organized and standardizes everyday business practices, which can save businesses lots of time and money.

This software gives you the ability to invite anyone to collaborate on a workflow, whether they work in-house or not. It keeps each step of every process organized. 

Using integrations with third-party apps such as Zapier, Salesforce, and Slack to automate the workflow, Process Street keeps everything in one place. 

Integrations like that really help to streamline operations and make sure nothing falls through the cracks. It also provides lots of free workflow templates to help users get started.

Process Street’s pricing starts at $1,000/year for the most basic package which allows five members and 10 guests, perfect for small businesses.

They offer two other packages called Pro and Enterprise, which start at $5,000 and $20,000 per year respectively. However, it should be emphasized that’s where the pricing starts, it’s a custom price for each client to suit their specific needs. 

2. Asana: Best tool for managing deadlines

Asana is great for project management and has multiple ways you can view a project, like:

  • Kanban 
  • Calendar
  • List
  • Spreadsheet

But it has one extra that sets it apart from other tools: timeline. 

The timeline feature gives users a visual representation of the stages of each project from start to finish and helps teams keep track of their deadlines.

Asana also comes with a unique workflow management feature that allows managers to see the overall workload of each team member. It tells managers who is overworked, underworked, or if a project is properly staffed. Features like this save employees from burnout.

One of the best features of Asana is its pricing. 

For teams of 15 people or less, Asana is free forever on the Basic plan. What’s even better is that Asana doesn’t limit many features on this plan. You’re also not limited on storage or the number of projects either. The biggest drawback to this plan is that it doesn’t come with the timeline view.

The next level is the Premium plan, which is $10.99 per user per month. With unlimited features, it’s ideal for mid-sized companies that want better project management. Asana Premium also unlocks the timeline feature, which is one of its biggest perks. 

Lastly, there’s Asana Business, which is priced at $24.99 per user per month. This level includes exclusive tools, like the workflow feature, approvals, and advanced reporting. 

3. Trello: Best budget-friendly tool

Trello is a Kanban-style project management tool that is the digital answer to sticky notes on a wall.

In my previous job as a remote project manager, I used Trello to manage multiple projects at once to great success. It’s a great way to collaborate and have all the steps of the project clearly laid out and defined. 

You can see what your colleagues have done or are currently working on in real-time, making it easier to know the status of your project without having to wait for replies from someone in another time zone.

Additionally, Trello allows you to:

  • Set due dates
  • Add subtasks
  • Automate recurring tasks
  • Communicate directly with collaborators

It’s intuitive and very easy for teams to learn how to use it. You could have your team using it reliably within a week.

Trello has a Free plan that allows you 10 boards, unlimited cards, and unlimited storage (but only 10MB files). If you have less than 10 projects and are on a budget, this is a great option.

The next plan Trello offers is the Standard, priced at $5 per user per month. It gives users unlimited boards and storage with files up to 250 MB.

Then there is the Premium plan for $10 per user per month. It includes everything the first two plans have, plus unlimited file sizes and different views, including calendars, timelines, and even a map.

Finally, there’s the Enterprise plan for $17.50 per user per month. This plan offers permissions features and unlimited integrations with available third-party apps. 

4. Notion: Best for knowledge management

Notion is a business management software that focuses on knowledge.

What does that mean? Well, Notion’s biggest selling point is that you can use it to:

  • Take notes
  • Create rich documents
  • Create wikis
  • Outline tasks

It’s about putting all of the knowledge contained in a project into one place.

For example, I once had a job writing scripts for a YouTube channel. We used Notion to upload the prompts, scripts, descriptions, and thumbnails. We even used it to leave notes on each other’s work.

The scripts didn’t have to be uploaded to Notion as separate files, they could be put in directly without sacrificing any rich text. 

Notion won’t be able to give you detailed reporting and analytics on data like other tools, but it’s excellent for creative collaboration.

It also includes administrative features for permissions management, checklists, and real-time collaboration.

For small teams of five or fewer people, Notion is free under the Free plan with the ability to integrate with Slack and GitHub and invite up to 10 guests to collaborate. 

Then they offer the Plus plan at $8 per user per month. It gives users the ability to invite up to 100 guests and upload unlimited files.

After that, they have the Business plan, which offers private team spaces and 250 guests for $15 per user per month.

Finally, they offer their Enterprise plan. There is no set price for this, you need to get in contact with them to receive a quote. It features a custom number of guests, unlimited page history, and advanced security.

5. Best for different management styles

Monday is the most versatile software for project management. utilizes very user-friendly timelines and calendars to structure tasks, giving users a clear picture of when things should be completed. 

You can also change the view to see the project tasks laid out in a Kanban or Gantt chart. 

Monday gives project managers a lot of flexibility in their methodologies, whether they prefer Agile or Scrum.

Monday supports lots of different types of workflows that can be used by most departments. 

These workflows include:

  • Customer relationship management (CRM)
  • Software development
  • Marketing
  • Human resources
  • Sales’s pricing has five levels to it. The lowest level is the Individual plan which is free and allows two users and up to three boards. 

Then there’s the Basic plan, which costs $8 per user per month but only gets you 5GB of storage. 

After that, they have the Standard plan at $10 per user per month, which is the most popular plan. 

The last two plans are the Pro and Enterprise plans. The Pro plan is $16 per user per month, but you need to contact support to get a quote for the Enterprise plan. 

The big difference between the plans is that Enterprise is HIPPA compliant and has features not offered by the others, like reporting and analytics.

Before you go 

All of the workflow applications we talked about offer either demos or free trials or both. I recommend you take advantage of them to figure out which one is best for your business.

Don’t just settle for the first one that sounds good, play around with them and involve your team to find the best one to suit your needs and make your business thrive.

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