A while ago I read an article at Entrepreneur, which was called ‘5 Reasons Why I Quit My Own Business to Work for Someone Else’ (Check out the article here). The 5 reasons have been:
- Paid education
- Play a bigger game
- Meaningful relationships
- More disposable income
Entrepreneur Magazine is very well known for great articles that embrace entrepreneurship, support pushing your own boundaries and awesome advice on how to get your own business perform even better. I found this title pretty surprising and it caught my attention immediately. Some posted comments reflected that others shared my amazement. One person commented ‘this person has never been an Entrepreneur’. But do we really need to be self-employed to be an Entrepreneur? Does this mean every self-employed person becomes automatically an Entrepreneur or a solo-preneur?
In my last post I mentioned that we are obviously not capable of coming up with a general applicable definition of what entrepreneurship is. The term ‘novelty’ seems to be important. But is the environment we are operating in important as well? Who are the real drivers of innovation? Can’t it make total sense for a solo-preneur to get back into a corporate environment? To have the benefit of leveraging an idea ready for execution to much larger, already established client base? Shouldn’t we appreciate people as Entrepreneurs who thinking entrepreneurially and take over responsibility while operating in a corporate environment? Aren’t maybe some of this so-called Intrapreneurs ore corporate Entrepreneurs even more successful than many “real” Entrepreneurs? When thinking of entrepreneurs one might have Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, Richard Branson or Oprah Winfrey in mind – but how many Entrepreneurs in total do really kick ass and become that successful? What does success even mean? We are likely to talk only about successful examples when discussing entrepreneurship because these are the examples we are aware of – success stories sell better than serial success less failures. In corporate environments we tend to talk about brands in general and the brand’s reputation. However, we should not forget who is behind that brand! People, Employees, Intrapreneurs. In the following I’d like to give you a quick overview of intrapreneurship.
Intrapreneurs are corporate Entrepreneurs
Intrapreneurs think, act and behave like Entrepreneurs with the difference that they are doing this within a corporate environment rather than an own company. This means the focus as well as the level of responsibility differs. While Entrepreneurs are responsible for their whole company and need to overview the operating business as well as the big picture. Intrapreneurs are mainly responsible for a single part of the business or a product and Intrapreneurs are not necessarily financially involved.
Intrapreneurs are drivers of innovation
‘Ideas are easy. Implementation is hard’ with these words Guy Kawasaki relates straight to a very well-known issue of many big companies. The execution and implementation of ideas is crucial and inevitable to stay competitive in the current market. Loads of large corporations have established their own departments solely focusing on idea creation. Some will shop ideas expensively from external consultants. With having loads of ideas on board the execution, the happening, however is often still neglected or poor. What companies now need more than ever are people who execute these ideas and implement them. What corporates need are hands-on intrapreneurs ideally at each hierarchy level. (Simon Parker, 2011).
Intrapreneurs understand the market and draw off trends
Like Entrepreneurs Intrapreneurs know the market they are operating in, they know their customers and their needs. Intrapreneurs are industry experts who seek new growth opportunities and question the why of each trend to identify and create value.
Intrapreneurs are not just employed but are part of the company
Intrapreneurs are not driven by money. Their goal is not to become super wealthy. Their reward needs to be broader than only money. Treating Intrapreneurs as part of the company, valuing their input and offer partial ownership might be a way more appealing deal.
Intrapreneurs take calculate risks and care about the company
Intrapreneurs take risks and like successful Entrepreneurs they do it with respect and pay attention to potential consequences. Intrapreneurs grow with independency and autonomy.
So, what do you think? Shouldn’t we treat Intrapreneurs the same way we hype and admire Entrepreneurs? Shouldn’t we appreciate the fact that this person has taken the brave step to leave independency and be willing to go back into a corporate environment to add value there – and is even willing to share his story on Entrepreneur Magazine? Shouldn’t we stop judging people over their title on a business card? Shouldn’t we trust and more appreciate the results and outcomes a person is delivering rather than the label the person is given?