No man (or woman) is an island, and nowhere is that truer than in business. You may want to control every aspect of your company, but no single person or team can do everything well. A Lone Ranger mentality won’t make you seem hardcore — it will just hurt your company in the long run.

When building your business, you want to offer customers the best possible product, and you can’t do that if you’re stretched too thin or agonizing over details that would be best left to someone else.

It’s worth evaluating where you and your team are expending effort on tasks that simply aren’t in your wheelhouse or directly advancing your business. Consider hiring a reputable outside company to manage those tasks for you.

Four Signs You Should Outsource

Many small business owners make the mistake of thinking that if they can do something in-house, they should. But if a project or task lies outside your company’s core competency, there’s a good chance that someone external can do it better for less money, leaving your team room to focus on what it’s good at.

You shouldn’t outsource everything, obviously, but you should pay attention to these four signs:

1. The work lies outside your core competency.

You should always consider outsourcing a task or project if it’s not central to what your company actually does. Let’s say you run a manufacturing firm with world-class R&D and excellent production management. Marketing may not be your strong suit, but it’s likely you can find a top marketing firm that can generate awareness for your product.

2. Someone else can do it cheaper.

Other companies or consultants have valuable experience managing dozens of clients in various situations, and they can execute with better customization and lower costs. Hiring a reputable firm to take on some of your lower-level functions, such as accounting or payroll, means you won’t have to build an infrastructure for that within your own company, saving you valuable time and money.

3. You need flexibility.

Outsourcing work gives you greater flexibility than keeping a function in-house. If you have higher volume during certain times of the year, it may be difficult for you to hire skilled workers internally for short periods, whereas a company that specializes in this already has the infrastructure to handle a sudden influx of work.

4. Another firm has more experience in the area.

Customer relations, marketing, media management — these are all critical functions most businesses need. Bringing in an outside company that specializes in these roles could yield better results because it already has the expertise and connections in place. And outsourcing firms that do tons of volume in a given area may be able to benefit from economies of scale that your firm can’t access on its own.

Of course, there are a few key functions you should not outsource. For example, you never want to have someone on the outside handling strategic leadership duties. Only you know what matters most and what works best for your business. Stay abreast of what’s going on in all areas of your organization, and don’t leave the important big-picture duties to someone who doesn’t know your company — or value it as much as you do.

Sales is another function you should always keep in-house. It’s essential that you incorporate the sales team’s market knowledge and findings into refining your product, and you’ll find it a challenge to incentivize an outside sales team.

What to Look for in an Outside Partner

The advantages of outsourcing can be huge if you choose the right company. You’ll benefit from the company’s expertise, and that company will be able to anticipate pitfalls and create effective strategies your team might have missed. The key is to find a suitable partner.

You should look for:

  • Experience. You want to work with a company that has demonstrated experience (and results) working with businesses with needs similar to yours. And that experience should be relevant to what your firm needs specifically.
  • Credibility. You should always look to work with companies that have a proven track record of success. Ask for examples of past work, and look for firms that not only performed well, but achieved results that exceeded what their clients would have achieved on their own.
  • Differentiation. Look for firms that stand out in the market and offer a highly specialized service you won’t find elsewhere. Constantly ask yourself, “What’s their edge?”

Outsourcing can help your business run more efficiently and be more profitable. When your team isn’t pulled in a million different directions working on projects outside your company’s expertise, your employees are able to focus on doing what they do best. It may take some time to find the company — or companies — that’s the right fit and truly understands your needs, but the investment is worth the focus and productivity you’ll gain.