Entrepreneurial Planning Blog Topic IV

William Casey Asbill-Beck
ENT 600: Entrepreneurial Planning
Topic Four

Discuss the benefits and risks of homogenous teams
(Chapter 4, The Founder’s Dilemmas).

Topic Four explores the pros and cons of various team relationships. In this chapter the Founder’s Dilemmas covers relationship dilemmas and provides examples of founders choosing close family and friends to work with versus reaching outside that comfort zone to other professionals. Wasserman refers to this as founding team homogeneity versus diversity. This particular chapter provided me with some interesting concepts to consider since both of my experiences with business startup involve friends and family. The chapter starts with benefits of homogeneity but does it’s best to point out this strategy can have long term problems. With both my property caretaking and local market businesses, I found support from family and friends, as I needed a quick team to put together. We already knew how to work with one another and found this strategy quick, efficient, and comfortable considering these were our first attempts with business start up. After discussing some of the positive factors involved with team homogeneity, the Founder’s Dilemmas looks at possible pit falls and risks of this sort of relationship. Examples of risks include overlapping functional backgrounds which can create redundant work, similar social networks can mean less diversity in customer contact, to similar of styles will not cover the bases your business requires, and team members with strongly formed relationships may not develop good business communication skills. Thus far, with both my personal business start ups, relying on family and friends has been beneficial. However, just like with my homeschooling, thinking that my friends and family know everything and poses the best skills is unrealistic. As the businesses grow, it is healthy to involve new members.

Discuss the role of founders in building teams
(Chapter 1, How to Hire A-Players;
Starting Your Business: Avoiding the “Me Incorporated” Syndrome).

Not only is it healthy for the business to involve new members, it is an opportunity to attract A-players that can positively change your business. Eric Herrenkohl’s How to Hire A-Players helps readers learn how to find key people for their team. This is helpful information for adding the needed diversity to your team and accumulating a large toolbox of skills for ones business. As we learned in Wasserman’s the Founder’s Dilemmas, homogeneity can result in some long term problems that could have been avoided with a little diversity. However as a founder, adding diversity means letting go of a portion of control with the company. “If you love something, you’ve got to learn to give it away.” As Herrenkohl points out, just one A-player can give one their life outside of work back. It is my personal philosophy that you are number one. This means you must be able to take care of yourself in order to help others and your business. Dr. Lahm points out in his article “Starting Your Business: Avoiding the “Me Incorporated” Syndrome” that the business cannot realistically grow if one person is responsible for everything. So, as I look to the future of my already existing companies and brainstorm other projects, I will have to decide what direction and decisions will best compliment the company.


  1. William,

    I like that you are willing to admit that you’ve been caught in the same trap that is discussed in the Founder’s Dilemma of choosing friends and family members for your team. I personally think it is really a situational decision. I can see from one perspective how it’s much easier to confide in friends and family for the many benefits that it offers. However, I can also see the advantages of going elsewhere to find good talent. While building a team of those close to you is an easy way to begin, it may not be the best for long-term success. You make a great point when saying that you will have to decide what direction and decisions will best compliment the company into the future.

    Best wishes,

    Ellie Shown

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