Spoke to an agency owner just now who grew his agency by 45% last year (they were a team of around 35 people before that growth). One of the things that contributed towards this success was a key hire.
There is a magic number I often hear of in my conversations with agencies: 15.
It is the number of people a single business owner can manage, without having some sort of ‘leadership team’ in place. Read more about it in my post 15 person agency team: Too much, too little.
Yep that’s right. You probably need a leadership team.
The question at this point is:
Do you move people up the ranks and put them in these positions? Or do you hire entirely new people to take on the leadership roles?
The answer is: Both
When you promote someone from within the company, the individual will feel like their hard work has paid off. That can have a massive effect on productivity.
A promotion from within can trigger a massive morale boost in the team. Especially amongst peeps that are striving to progress in their career. They can now see the long-term vision.
When the promoted person is seen as a natural leader by the rest of the team, this will help with aligning everyone for your next growth period.
The challenge promoting people into leadership roles:
This person often only has the visibility of problems from the past. They most likely will not have visibility over what will happen in the next growth stage of your agency.
This is when it makes sense to consider hiring in more experienced people for specific strategic roles. In the case of the agency I spoke to, it was a finance opps director. Especially when they have come from a larger agency. An agency that ideally has just surpassed the next major growth stage of your agency.
This person will give you vision and visibility of the problems to come. Allowing you to prepare for possible solutions. They will also bring solutions to existing problems that may appear complex to you, but simple to this person.
Although it is great to promote from within, do not underestimate the strategic advantages that can come with hiring a person for your key leadership roles.