Project Management for Small Business: Monday vs Trello

Alex Seryj

Jan 09 2019

With so many solutions on the market, which system is really the best tool for project management for small business owners? We’ve put Monday vs Trello head to head in an in-depth view of tools to see which one comes out the winning tool for project management for small business.

It may seem like anything is simpler than project management for small business owners. In fact, when surveyed, 72% of entrepreneurs feel overwhelmed and a whopping 60% of them would prefer more time over more work. Why is this, and what can be done to alleviate the stress? The answer to these questions simply comes down to tactics. Entrepreneurs tend to focus too much on the task at hand without paying attention to the bigger picture. That’s where project management for small business comes into play.

We already have a detailed review for Monday on our website and all of you have probably heard or even used Trello. It’s time to throw Monday vs Trello in the ring to determine which has the best UI, features, and customization options for strategic project management.

Monday vs Trello: Kanban boards

Trello is an amazing example of Kanban at its finest. The Trello Board is simple, intuitive, and straightforward. Assign the tasks, check on the progress, and monitor if the team is moving towards a shared goal all from a single screen.

Trello’s drag-&-drop cards are an outstanding illustration of a flow. You can assign them to people, add a certain colored label to differentiate a task from others, and you can attach files to each card.

That said, the cards aren’t too informative at first glance. All you really see is the title. According to most UX experts, any visual representation that needs labels to differentiate a certain element from the other can be visualized in a simpler manner. Tasks should never blend with one another in tools for project management for small businesses. It simply undermines the practicality of the system.

Kanban was originally developed by Taiichi Ohno from Toyota as an improvement to manufacturing efficiency. The system was designed with a single process in mind. It’s perfect for building cars without wasting time or materials. However, small business goals weren’t in mind when developing the system.

Trello, just like its godfather Kanban, is a goal-centric, tactical tool you’ll use to get a job done in the most efficient manner. Still, it does not show you what is essential to project management for small business. Trello doesn’t visualize the bigger picture.

What about the Monday Kanban board?

While Monday does borrow certain elements from Kanban it is still, essentially, a board that visualizes a series of processes going on in a company. At the same time, it allows you to see the bigger picture.

Monday’s high-level Kanban board is not process-focused. It doesn’t tell your team what they should do right now. It shows what the company as a whole is up to at the moment. This is arguably a better project management option for small business owners and the executive team, but is it enough for the employees?

Yes, and no.

Theoretically, keeping everyone on the same page can improve awareness, loyalty, and motivation. There’s nothing like a shared goal to unite a team.

Then again, everyone at your company plays an important role. Awareness and understanding of the said role, tasks, responsibilities, and the current workload is as important (if not more) to an employee. You can’t expect a person to do his or her best if all they see is “the big picture,” can you?

Luckily, Monday has a set of easily customizable templates you can use to track and manage tactical tasks. Or you can easily integrate Trello into it with but a few clicks.

This brings us to our next point.

Monday vs Trello: customization

The Monday app packs quite a punch when it comes to customization. It offers a nice set of templates for anything from daily tasks, client tracking, sales boards, and a social media planner.

The tool has built-in functionality for management of freelancers. A nice touch in our day and age when hiring remote teams or employees is on the rise.

All of these handy features make Monday more diverse and flexible in terms of project management for a small business.

How does Trello counter?

It has a handy feature called custom fields, which allows you to customize a card. The cards come with the ability to add start and end dates to a task, or to easily access contact info from it. While this is a nice feature, it’s not the same as having a unique board for every scenario.

Trello is a tactical solution. It is simple, intuitive, and process-oriented. You’ll have a beginning, an end, and the in-between stuff you’ll need to work on. Minimalistic? Yes. Still, that’s everything you need according to the Kanban way.

Monday vs Trello: features

We’ve all been told not to judge a book by its cover. You’re looking to find the tool to help run a small business, aren’t you? You need something that can pack a project management punch. So, what do the contenders bring to the table in terms of functionality?


  • Pre-set board templates. As we’ve mentioned above, Monday has an impressive array of templates with functionality representing the tasks and business process taking place in every department. HR, administration, sales, marketing, R&D, etc. will all get a board that fits their precise needs. That said, all of the boards are completely customizable. You can freely add elements you need to any template or you can even create a board from scratch.
  • Time management within a task. You can set up a timeframe or a deadline for a project as a whole and for a certain task within a project. This is a useful feature for managing ongoing projects and teams.
  • Real-time communication. You (or any other team member with access) can add comments to a card representing a certain task. The person responsible for it will get a notification on his phone and computer and you’ll get a swift response. Think about it as a separate chat, but within the context of a certain challenge.


Trello has a relatively similar set of features but with some limitations:

  • If compared to Monday, you don’t get as much customization options for your board.
  • Time management is a thing within a certain card. Tracking time on a project as a whole is much harder though.
  • Contextual communications through comments to cards work in a similar manner.

As you can see, both Monday and Trello are similar in their basic functionality, but Monday has an edge over the latter thanks to its flexibility, which is the one thing you absolutely need in project management for small business.

Monday vs Trello: pricing

As we have previously mentioned in our Monday review, the tool is not necessarily cheap.

  • The basic package starts at $25 per month. It allows a team of up to 5 users, includes 5GB of storage, comes with mobile apps for iOS and Android, and has an unlimited set of boards.
  • The standard package cranks things up to $39 per month, allows for external integrations with apps like Trello, DropBox, and Google Sheets, and increases the storage capacity to 50GB.
  • The pro package will cost you $59 per month. It brings unlimited storage, private boards, and detailed productivity performance stats to the table.
  • Monday’s Enterprise pricing model starts at $118. It introduces a personal client manager, access to VIP support, a higher API rate, and a whole lot of extra security features.

Trello, on the other hand, is a much more cost-efficient solution.

  • The basic package is 100% free of charge. It offers unlimited boards, cards, and lists, integration with Drive and DropBox, and a bizarrely limited storage: up to 10MB per any attachment.
  • The business class package starts at $9.99. It increases the limit of upload per attachment to 250MB, offers unlimited power-ups, and gives some customization trinkets like backgrounds or stickers.
  • The enterprise package starts at $20.83, introduces you to a dedicated account executive, adds two-factor verification functionality, and additional security features.

At the end of the day, Trello is a much cheaper solution, but with Monday’s pricing, you are getting more bang for your buck. So the real question is – do you really need the extra “trinkets” and customization in your project management for small business process?

Monday vs Trello: who’s the winner?

We’ve reached the finish line. Who is the winner of our Monday vs Trello battle royal?

One may say that Monday is a more expensive solution, therefore it’s not a good fit to entrepreneurs on a budget. However, the app manages to visualize the bigger picture to anyone lost in the routine. Or, in simpler words, it simplifies strategic planning and saves time – a resource far more precious than money.

Monday is a better project management application for larger teams. Also, it provides business owners and decision makers with the insights they need for appropriate planning. It is clearly the winner of our Monday vs Trello battle.

And just in case you didn’t find the perfect match, we have more reviews that can help you with project management for small business here.

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