You’ve been running your agency with a small but mighty team, and it's been working out for you…or so you think.

How do you know when it's not?

Agencies can get used to running lean out of pure necessity, stuck in survival mode while efficiency, profitability, and employee happiness suffer–and don’t have to!

But the thought of hiring help can seem like a bigger burden than a simple solution. 

Instead, we’d encourage you to keep this mantra in mind: to continue to grow your agency, you have to grow your team.

While it may seem like there’s never a perfect time to hire, as the only project management platform started by former agency owners and built  for client work, we’re here to tell you that there are in fact a few tell-tale signs! 

If you’ve been on the fence about hiring at your growing agency, here are five signs to look out for:

Your team is struggling with bandwidth 

Sure, agency life is a never-ending to-do list, so it's important to note the difference between a full but balanced workload and when your team simply does not have enough bandwidth because you need to hire more help. Staff not taking vacations, working over 50 hours plus per week, sending emails well after hours, and not delivering consistent work on-time for instance, may mean tasks are completed, but creativity, quality of work, and most importantly, employee happiness suffers. 

With The Great Resignation upon us, prioritizing work-life balance at your agency is more important than ever before to retain and attract top talent as you grow. 

If you’re still not certain that bandwidth is the issue, hours tracking and visibility into your team’s capacity with a project management tool like Teamwork can help. When you have all the information you need to make a data-backed decision on your road to growth, everyone wins!

You’re unable to deliver consistent work to happy customers 

If you see that your team is constantly reacting to client asks versus proactively anticipating their needs, it may be time to hire. We all know in agency it can be too easy to fall into the habit of getting work done for many clients as fast as possible. We also know this often leads to avoidable mistakes and lower quality of work–yet we keep doing it, because the work still gets done–but at what cost? 

When your team only has the finish line in sight, strategy and creative thinking can fall to the wayside. Imagine the peak potential you could reach on a client pitch if the most creative thinkers on your team had the time to actually think? When you are in the business of client work, when their satisfaction suffers, you risk your bottom line, your reputation and so much more. Client satisfaction is never worth the risk, especially when it can be solved with a new hire. 

You need someone with a specific skillset 

As much as we wish we could, no one can do it all—and you shouldn’t have to! As an agency owner, there are going to be many tasks that could be done a whole lot better if you have the right specialist in the seat. 

Maybe a potential client or clients are asking for someone with a specific skill set that no one on your team has. If hiring someone with this skill could also help you reach your business goals faster too–why wouldn’t you?

In cases like this, If you fail to hire, you’ll likely miss out on new client opportunities, and find it difficult to keep hold of your current clients. When a client or potential client requests your help in an area that you have no speciality in, it's likely they’ll start to search elsewhere.

Not sure where the gaps are? A tool like Teamwork’s resource management software, can give you insight into the different skillsets spread out across your agency. See exactly where you may have specific skillset gaps and where you should focus on hiring.

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You’re saying no to new business

If you want to grow your agency but find yourself constantly turning down new opportunities because you and your team simply don't have the bandwidth, this is one of the biggest signs that it's time to hire.

During our Bandwidth session, “Is it time to grow your team?” Paula Celestino, Founder at SPRK MEDIA GROUP INC. shared her thoughts on the matter:

 “The moment you feel like you cannot take on any more new projects because you might hurt your current projects, that's one of the first signs that you need to grow your team.”

If you have to think twice about saying yes to new business because you feel your lean team will struggle–dont’! That's why it's also important to say yes to hiring new employees at this point so that your agency can continue to do great work for current clients and take on exciting new business opportunities with ease too!

Your project management platform tells you so!

If your processes are in place and well followed, and your agency still can’t take on more work with less strain and more success, this may be a sign that even your project management platform suggests it's time to grow your agency.

Paula Celestino, shared some of her advice with us during Bandwidth:

“If you have a work management platform like Teamwork, and you’re tracking your time, projects and resources but your still not able to take on new clients, then that is a sign that you need new team members so that the current projects are delivered to the highest standard and you can still take on new projects.” 

With the help of the right project management platform, you'll be able to see exactly where your team is under-resourced and be 100% certain that it's time to bring someone new in….and those new projects too!

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No matter what, It can be tough to know when it's time to hire, let alone where to start.

At Bandwidth, DemandManven founder and CEO Asia Orangio, offered some famous last words to consider:

Usually, the easiest way to justify bringing new people onto your team is going to be people that are considered billable resources—those who are working on the service or on delivering value to the client. Once it's really clear what the process is for delivering value and delivering the service, the next step is to build a team around delivering that.”

Be sure to refer back to the signs and advice we’ve covered here and if you're still convinced, consider gaining data-backed insight into how your team functions with a tool like Teamwork. 

When you can grow with confidence you and your dream team will have less stress and more sweet success to celebrate!