Now, more than ever, companies are hiring entrepreneurs to lead the design and creation of their new products. Inventions like the sticky note and the Super Soaker, both came from individuals using their company position to come up with innovative new ideas. And other companies have taken notice!
Large companies like Microsoft and Meta routinely buy out smaller innovative startups or companies in order to beat out the competition. In 2012, Facebook (now Meta) bought Instagram and its team for $1 Billion, while Blockbuster missed out on buying out Netflix’s team of scrappy entrepreneurs back in 2001. Blockbuster doesn’t even exist anymore and companies don’t want to be next... So, while they still have money, customers, and employees, companies are starting to invest more into their own startup centers and creating new Research and Development teams to come up with their next new idea. But in order to do so, they need employees who know how to think like entrepreneurs! They need entrepreneurs.
What You'll Learn:
What are Intraprenuers?
Intrapreneurs are problem solvers who build solutions for customers or clients, within an already established company or business.
Intrapreneurs work with businesses they don’t own, but offer their expertise and creativity to businesses who need a new product or innovative idea to please and excite their customers.
What is Intrapreneurship?
Intrapreneurship is essentially using the skills you would use as an entrepreneur, coming up with ideas, automating processes, organizing teams, and managing a project within an already established company.
Why are Intrapreneurs so Important?
Businesses need intrapreneurs to come up with remarkable ideas that get people talking about their latest and greatest products.
They need employees who can create what marketing guru Seth Godin calls, The Purple Cow. This is a product or idea so incredibly innovative and unique, it essentially becomes “viral” as everyone starts to talk about it and share it with their friends and peers.
Nobody cares about regular black and white cows. They want the cool new purple cow to post on their Instagram story.
“The key to success is to find a way to stand out - to be the purple cow in a field of [boring regular cows]” - Seth Godin
Because of this, companies are beginning to invest in entrepreneurial training and recruiting startup CEOs and startup cofounders to create their next innovative ideas. They want to inject their entrepreneurial creativity into their workplace.
This is how you can become the next game-changing employee to come up with the next big idea. Here’s how you can use entrepreneurship to stand out in your career and become the intrapreneur that businesses and employers are looking for.
How to Become an Intrapreneur to Grow Your Career
Anyone can develop skills to become a valuable intrapreneur in the workplace. You can be an accountant who creates new excel shortcuts to increase productivity, you can be a janitor who creates a device to cut down cleaning time in half. Essentially, intrapreneurs are problem solvers for the corporate world.
How To Build Intrapreneurial Skills to Stand Out
These are the skills entrepreneurs have that can be helpful for you in the workplace:
- Strong leadership
- Great Communication Skills
Entrepreneurship vs Intrapreneurship
Intrapreneurship and entrepreneurship tend to be seen as one and the same. So here are the differences you need to know and how you can use these skills to increase your value as an employee and advance your career.
Intrapreneurs essentially are photocopies of entrepreneurs in that they are wildly creative, naturally curious, and go-getters. However, they differ in their risk tolerance. Often intrapreneurs are best in roles where they can manage products and come up with systems to grow the idea while being comfortable leaving other tasks to other company employees.
A good example would be how Meta has hired a team to focus solely on building out the metaverse. They’ve introduced a team of motivated techies who love to create new products and experiment with new ideas to create new tech products. What that may be is up to this team. They’re essentially solving a problem that no one else has found the answers to. Something brand new that no one has ever thought about, but with the resources and financial support from Meta.
They don’t have to worry about who to hire or needed to be a jill-of-all-trades like an entrepreneur who has their hands all over the wheels of their business.
These individuals tend to want complete autonomy in every business decision out there. They want to create and develop their ideas, manage the systems to grow their business and recruit the team to help them reach their business goals. Entrepreneurs have a ton of tools at their disposal and aren’t afraid to be out of their comfort zone.
These individuals create everything. From the initial idea to the marketing, the brand story, the supply chain, and the company culture, to what is even written on the company website. They recruit the best people at their disposal and understand they still carry the majority of the risk.
The company succeeds or fails under their leadership.
Advantages of Entrepreneurship
If you’re thinking to yourself, why go through the hassle of being an intrapreneur for a company when you can just do that for your own ideas, then entrepreneurship may be your way to go.
Entrepreneurs usually control their entire idea or product. They usually get the final say on how to run the business, grow the idea, and manage their schedules. As an entrepreneur, you can control the idea in every aspect and that’s not something you will get working as an intrapreneur.
You control your time and where you want to focus on it as an entrepreneur. Although this doesn’t usually translate to working fewer hours, it allows for more hours on the ideas and concepts you love. Intrapreneurs get to leave their work when they clock out but don’t always get the final say on what their schedules look like when coming up with the next novel business idea.
Risks of Entrepreneurship
Despite the excitement and glamour entrepreneurship carries, it also can be frustrating and stressful. Managing a team, giving up sleep, and missing out on a stable income can often weigh down on any person at any professional level.
When you’re the boss of your own idea, that means no one will care about your idea more than you do. This means having to handle the stress of not only creating a business but managing it yourself. This can lead you to leave your stable 9 to 5 for a more unreasonable 6 to 11. Some entrepreneurs even claim to work 20-hour days.
This can often hurt your mental and physical health and put a huge strain on your relationships if you don’t prioritize time management.
Being an entrepreneur means your business lives and thrives by you. Entrepreneurs don’t have the luxury of clocking out at the end of the workday like intrapreneurs often can. This can often lead to bringing your home and bending stress within your life.
In the beginning stages of your entrepreneurial journey, you will have to give up other opportunities in order to grow your idea.
You give up the stable income a regular career will offer, including benefits such as employer-sponsored health insurance, 401K matches (basically free money for your retirement), annual bonuses, paid time off, and other perks working for an established company will offer. Not to mention, working on your business is essentially working all day as you try to bootstrap (link) the idea yourself.
Intrapreneurship or Entrepreneurship?
Focus on Intrapreneurship If...
You’re someone who’s a creative team player that gets excited by novel challenges but needs stability. You should consider pursuing Product Management positions or the Research and Development part of a company if you’re trying to become an intrapreneur. This becomes especially relevant if you’re someone who’s a team player.
Focus on Entrepreneurship If...
You’re someone who is excited by the pressure and looks forward to rising to the challenge to create your own ideas, then maybe consider entrepreneurship. We actually have a whole PDF on the 5 Terms all Entrepreneurs should know.
If you’re someone who has great people skills, can manage a team, and envision grand ideas, while working well under pressure, then consider pursuing your own idea. We actually have a book on how to get started with your own entrepreneurial journey.
Final Thoughts on Intrapreneurship...
Intrapreneurship isn’t a job title, it’s a skill that combines the creativity and innovative skills entrepreneurs practice daily and combines with the stability and resources a large company can offer. It combines the best of both worlds when it comes to creating the world’s next life-changing idea, within a company that provides structure and support for you.
If you're looking for a beginners handbook to help guide you or your students to start building these entrepreneurial skills, check out our workbook! OR head to our Get Started page, to start learning how you can implement these tools in your classroom today!