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What Work Should You Outsource? Small businesses don't need a big team to make a big impact. Here's how to be strategic about what work gets outsourced.

By Adam Bornstein

This story appears in the September 2019 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Federico Gastaldi

Q: I don't have the money to hire a big team. What skills do I need to keep in-house, and what can I just hire contractors for? -- Rachel Y., Miami

Good startups start with good people. That's what Paul Graham, one of the founders of the famed Silicon Valley accelerator Y Combinator, often says. And research backs him up. The Startup Genome project found that compared with companies that have a full team, solo­preneurs take 3.6 times longer to outgrow their startup phase. And according to CB Insights research, "not having the right team" is one of the top three reasons startups fail. (The other two are "no market need" and "running out of cash.")

But who cares about that, right? If you don't have the money to hire a full team, then no amount of snappy quotes or studies can change your fortunes. That's why a world of outsourced options are available -- everyone from highly skilled freelancers to agencies promising to serve as your outsourced CMO or CTO.

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