The Best Online Whiteboard Apps for Small Businesses Working Remotely: Collaboration Must-Haves That Won’t Break the Budget

Sean Lund-Brown

Even a single year ago, the remote work tools that we had were starting to improve, but there was still plenty of room for innovation and advancement. Although the pandemic took the entire business world by surprise, it also taught some invaluable lessons—including that we need to start harnessing the power of technology and AI to improve remote work and business in general.

And not just for easier collaboration and communication, either. Yes, these are critical elements in any good team, but they are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the way that technology and automation are changing the business world. Today, we see tools and tech for all kinds of needs, including things like:

·  HR and payroll automation

·  Messaging and collaboration

·  Scheduling and appointment booking

·  Social media management

·  Project management

·  Daily task and routine apps

·  Notetaking apps

·  Invoicing and billing tools

·  And more!

 

Of course, as businesses upgrade with a dedicated focus when choosing CRM tools, billing software, and other mission critical tools, they often overlook the importance of giving the same focus to collaborative tools like online whiteboard apps.

Fortunately, that’s where we come to the rescue. The basic whiteboard, a simple staple, has taken quite a leap into the digital space and there are plenty of tools waiting to help you pair the conveniences of technology with the benefit of visual collaboration, training, and brainstorming. They all have their own features to consider, as well as plenty of different applications and uses. We’ll go over the details of the best whiteboard apps for small business below to help you narrow your options.

 

How did we decide?

 

So, what makes a good online whiteboard tool? Technically, you can use any design or sketch tool to create a collaborative solution in a pinch, but if you find yourself constantly sharing terrible graphics, limited info, or trying to build better presentations, you probably need an online whiteboard tool. There are some features that make these stand out, but the ones that are essential to their best use include:

Collaboration Features: Obviously, when you’re choosing a whiteboard tool, the collaborative features should be at the top of your list. Look for tools that allow easy sharing and communication, including file sharing and cross-device syncing. Ideally, you’ll find a solution that offers real-time collaboration so that your team never misses a beat.

File Sharing: You will also want to choose a tool that makes it easy to attach files, links, images, and other content without incident. Whether you’re attaching from a storage drive, the cloud, or anywhere else, sharing should be simple.

Mobile Accessibility: Today’s world of remote work is also highly mobile. Thus, if you’re going to invest in a new whiteboard app, you’ll want to make sure that it is accessible to everyone, no matter where they are. Fortunately, there are several apps and tools today that are cloud-based and available on multiple platforms, including Android and iOS.

Presentation Options: Consider the different features of the app, such as online sharing and exporting, as well as other ways you can present your whiteboards to the team, clients, and others. These are often a core part of your collaborations, so they need to be easy to present and work with.

Unlimited Canvas Size: This is one place where digital whiteboards outshine their physical counterparts, so of course we want to exploit it as much as possible. Upgrading to a digital tool should mean that you no longer have to worry about the size or complexity of what you are sharing or creating.

 

There are plenty of other features that you will find, but these are the ones that should be on the shortlist of must-haves when you are looking at the best online whiteboard apps for small business that we’ve reviewed below. You can also look into features like automation and AI, speech-to-text collaborative tools, and more. There's a lot to love and you’re sure to be impressed by what you find.

(Speaking of impressive collaborations, ask us how our virtual receptionists can help you streamline your communication with 24/7 call answering and live website chat, making sure that even when you’re busy brainstorming, your leads and clients get dedicated, reliable answers and solutions.)

 

Miro

Miro is a great choice to kick off the list because it’s available on the web and on any device that you’re using—Mac, Windows, iOS, and Android all have dedicated versions of this whiteboard app. This tool starts by letting you choose from an impressive list of templates for your whiteboard and collaboration needs, including things like customer mapping, UX design, and social strategy.

You can also add multiple templates to a board and use the various scrolling and zooming features to navigate, add sticky notes, and more. Plus, there’s a Miro Marketplace, where you will find a full list of app integrations and tools so that you can update, sync, and collaborate across all of the platforms that you use. One of the best features is the suite of monitoring and management tools designed to help leaders guide the process of collaboration.

·  Free option? Three editable boards free of charge

·  Price: Team plan starts at $8 per month, per member

·  Team plans include unlimited boards

·  Templates for all kinds of collaboration and brainstorming

·  Real-time sharing

·  Multiple template option

·  Marketplace for integrations

 

MURAL

MURAL is the ideal choice if you’re looking for a whiteboard tool that allows you to create unique whiteboard areas that look a lot more like Photoshop artboards than standard notes or whiteboards. You can arrange, resize, and move them as you like, and then there are a number of templates, color coding options, prebuilt grids, and other features to help add structure.

This is a great team tool that offers a “rooms” ‘feature so that you can limit permissions based on project, board, or user. You can even create remote meeting collaborations, allow people to vote on boards, and integrate with all of the tools and software that you already use on a daily basis.

·  Free option? No

·  Price: From $12 per month

·  Integrates with Zapier and other tools

·  Create rooms to segregate teams and projects

·  Custom screen sizing and layout

·  Timed voting sessions

·  Chats for real-time collaboration

 

Stormboard

Stormboard starts out looking like a simple sticky note-type of idea tool, but it’s so much more than that. Each seemingly simple sticky note is housing its very own whiteboard, which creates a lot of opportunity for the small business that’s got big picture ideas. Each board is called a Storm, and when you create a new one, you can add ideas immediately, share with others to collaborate, and view and edit in real-time.

What sets Stormboard apart is that it solves a major pain point in collaboration: saving each version of ideas as you go so that you can review and modify along the way and track progress. Being able to keep an entire board within a single note makes that easy. You can also chat with collaborators, assign tasks, and integrate with other tools like Trello, Zapier, and even your email.

·  Free option? Yes, free for personal use with five Storms and five collaborators per

·  Price: Starts at $10 per month for Business use with unlimited Storms

·  Easy integration with other apps and tools

·  Real-time collaboration

·  Cross-device compatibility

·  Built in Project Management templates

·  Easy exporting and sharing

 

Lucidspark

Lucidspark is a collaborative white board tool that is designed to help people bring all of their best ideas to light. This tool offers an easy interface that allows you to turn your ideas into concepts and then presentation-ready materials. You can even create your own workflows and integrate with all the tools that you use on a regular basis. There are templates, a chat feature, and breakout boards.

Lucidspark allows users to vote on collaborations and whiteboards, and you can even import with Miro and other tools. It's easy to share collaborations in real-time and there’s even a timer option and freehand drawing tools are included. It starts out with a free version, and paid plans are impressively affordable, too. This tool is part of the Lucid Suite, which includes an entire family of visual collaboration resources.

·  Free option? Yes

·  Price: Starts at $7.95 for individual use, $9 per user for teams of 3 or more

·  Sticky notes

·  Workflow creation

·  Process documentation

·  Infinite canvas

·  Freehand drawing

·  Templates available

·  Chat feature included

·  Real-time collaboration

 

 

InVision App

InVision is consistently seen on the top of the “best whiteboards” lists around the Internet, and for good reason. This tool has several different features that make it a great choice for anyone looking for a better way to collaborate. This platform has more than 5 million users and comes with plenty of tools and integrations. Plus, there is also a mobile app for Android and iOS in addition to cloud-based access.

With InVision, you can choose the app for collaboration of all kinds. It includes animation, data linking, a digital canvas, idea management tools, reporting and analytics, presentation tools, and screen capture tools. You can even prototype with the tool and so much more. Interactive elements make sure that everyone feels like they’re contributing, and it all happens in real-time.

·  Free option? No, but there is a trial

·  Price: Starts at $15 per month for a single prototype

·  Scalable platform

·  Real-time collaboration

·  Animations

·  Idea management tools

·  Feedback management

·  Integrated user support

·  Revision history

·  Drag and drop features

 

Collaboard

Collaboard is a unique remote collaboration tool that is based in the cloud, offering a self-hosting solution for companies who need it, with on-premises or cloud tenant hosting. This app features real-time online collaboration tools, mobile access, a desktop app, and even cloud access for complete scalability and agility on the go. There is robust support available, as well. The tool includes real-time brainstorming sessions and chat tools.

Collaboard offers a free version for individual users and there is a free trial of the premium plans. The pricing is less than you’d expect, and you’ll find plenty of online meeting and workshop tools, including whiteboards and note tools. You just open the browser or the mobile app and get to work, no matter what type of creative collaborations you’re doing.

·  Free option? Yes

·  Price: Starts at $3 per feature per month

·  Online collaboration in real-time

·  Document and video sharing

·  Infinite canvas

·  Sticky notes

·  Browser access

·  Reporting features

·  Administrative permissions and management tools

 

Position your business for success by collaborating with the team at Smith.ai

 

When you’ve got the right tools, remote work can be easy. It can even be better than sitting in the office—after all, no one wants to spend 4 hours in the conference room, no matter how good the catered lunch and snacks might be. Although hands were forced and companies scrambled into innovation, the outcome has created a whole new market of niche tools and apps for things like communication, collaboration, and helping businesses keep going, despite the world essentially being shut down.

And, as you can now see, these tools can do wonders for your brainstorming and collaboration sessions, no matter what business you’re in. Whether you choose a simple free tool or one of the most dynamic platforms that your budget can manage, you’ll see an improvement in teamwork and better business as a result. And when you want to increase the value of your partnerships even more, consider enlisting the assistance of the virtual receptionists at Smith.ai for 24/7 call answering, live chat, Facebook and SMS messaging, and more.

Schedule your Live Chat consultation to discuss how our virtual receptionists can act as the face of your business to ensure that your calls get answered and your customers are heard, no matter what you’re doing or what time of day it might be. From simple overflow and one-off call support services to a custom virtual receptionist solution that includes lead intake, appointment scheduling, and more, we’ve got you covered. You can also reach out to hello@smith.ai or (650) 727-6484.


Sean Lund-Brown

Sean Lund-Brown is a current Marketing Assistant for Smith.ai. A graduate from Metropolitan State University of Denver, Sean graduated with a BA in Music and an individualized degree in Teaching Vocal Pedagogy.

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