Are you going to work every day seeing a bunch of opportunities where things could be done better? This scenario represents the perfect opportunity to be an intrapreneur.
Millennials are quitting jobs in droves and jumping from job to job, trying to find their ideal place. They often left to be entrepreneurs and freelancers in search of more freedom and the ability to make more of a difference.
The problem that going out on your own presents different challenges like not having benefits, having to set aside money for taxes, and many other things.
Many of these people end up going right back to their jobs, instead of considering intrapreneurship as an option.
"The willingness to be a champion for stupid ideas is the key to greater creativity, innovation, fulfillment, inspiration, motivation, and success."--Richie Norton
What You Will Learn In This Intrapreneur Article
What is Intrapreneurship?
Intrapreneurship is when someone who acts as an entrepreneur from within a company. Entrepreneurs decide to build a brand new company from scratch and take on massive amounts of risk to make sure it's successful. They are responsible for raising money, hiring, payroll, and any other task that they can't hire for.
An intrapreneur innovates within a company. They find massive opportunities to act on, but instead of leaving and creating a new company, they bring these ideas to life within their current company. Being an intrapreneur is an excellent warm-up for being an entrepreneur.
You can actually take a product much farther sometimes when you have the resources of an established company. The downside is you don't get the control and financial reward that you may want.
How to Be an Intrapreneur
The following 5 step process is not set in stone. Every company and working relationship is different and you need to take that into consideration. The goal of this is to figure out how to best provide value without pissing anyone off because you need company buy in.
1. Do Your Job Well
You can't look to become an intrapreneur until you prove that you can handle your current responsibilities. No one is going to listen to anything you say until you get that done.
You were hired to do a specific job and the focus needs to be on that until doing it well is pretty easy for you. This is the reason you need some time in the same role before you decide to become an intrapreneur. You need to prove to your team and boss that you're capable of crushing what's in front of you.
2. Make Your Boss's Life Easier
It's going to be your boss who is either going to give you the ok to pursue an opportunity or they are going to have to go and fight for you to their boss.
One of the best ways to build trust and make sure they have time to think about your new venture is to make their life easier.
Figure out what is stressing them out and find a way to relieve that pressure or make it go away all together. Even the toughest bosses will take notice and show you appreciation. They will have less to do and think about and that is just what they need to hear you out.
3. Find Opportunities
Once you're in a position where the trust has been earned, you need to find the best opportunities. It's no different than how an entrepreneur may have a few different business ideas. During this stage you want to list out every area within the company that you can help drastically improve.
Nothing is too small or too large to list out. What you eventually want to do over time is develop the reputation as being the go to person for innovation so all of these ideas could be handy in the future.
4. Choose The Best One Based On Company Objectives
Once you have your list of opportunities, you need to choose the first one to start with. You want this one to have the most impact but also to be doable in a reasonable amount of time. You don't want to take on a project that is going to take a long time because you want to provide value as quickly as you can.
The same way that you want to do your job well you also want to show that you can provide value as an intrapreneur as quick as possible as well. Prove to your company that your ideas are winners and you will be able to do more of this.
5. Take Action
Action could look very different depending on the company, trust levels and how much company resources you need. If you have high levels of trust and your idea does not need much money, you should just do it. Don't wait for your boss to say yes, instead just show the excellent results by taking action.
If you're going to need money or a team of people your next step is talking to the appropriate people in your company. Your focus needs to be on doing your job and then bringing this project to life.
Why Your Company Needs Intrapreneurs
Your company needs intrapreneurs even if they are not asking for it. No company in this world is above the need to innovating. Look at a company like Blockbuster. They could have used some intrapreneurs to help them get into streaming before Netflix took over.
Every company wants to pull the best ideas out of the heads of its employees. People will always be the best competitive advantage. Other companies can copy technology, but they can't replicate people.
Intrapreneurs are the answer for stagnant companies that have not changed in years, and they are struggling to keep up with the times.
Think about a company like Google. The powerhouse has thrived off of intrapreneurs, to the point where they let many brands operate as their own independent business. A product like Gmail, Google Earth, and many others all came from intrapreneurs.
Google lets its people spend a portion of their time working on whatever they want because they know that innovation is born during this time.
Advantages to Being an Intrapreneur
1. More Value
One of the best things about being an intrapreneur is how it delivers value both ways. Your company gets the value of your new idea and how it makes or saves them money.
You get more value because you get seen in a different light, and you potentially get to work on new skills. Gone are the days of just sitting back and waiting to be told. You now get to lead, recruit, budget, and layout plans all on your own.
2. Chance to Prove Yourself
Prove to your company all that you can do. One of the most frustrating things about working for a company is when they don't realize how many skills you have and how much you're willing to learn.
Instead of waiting for them to use you, find a way to put your own expertise to work. Prove to them that you're valuable.
3. More Autonomy
One of the best ways to improve happiness at work is to increase employee autonomy. Entrepreneurship is so important and fun because you have full freedom to do what you want when you want.
When you become an intrapreneur, happiness increases in the workforce because you finally have a voice and some control over what you do and what gets done. The more intrapreneurs, the happier the entire company becomes.
4. Preparation for Being an Entrepreneur
One of the coolest things about being an intrapreneur is that it can prepare you to go out on your own but without the risk. Think about it for a second. You have the chance to do everything an entrepreneur does, but while maintaining a cushy salary.
Mind you, you could also create something very successful and not get any more for it. You can take a go at it while still be able to pay your bills. Then, when you go at it for real you will be ready.
Obstacles of Intrapreneurship
1. People Who Hate Change
Every company has them. There are always people who love the way things are going because it allows them to be comfortable with their jobs. They can come in and do the same things every day and never have to learn and grow.
Then all a sudden, you come in with your crazy ideas, and it starts to expose them and make them have to work harder and learn more. They will hate you! Just accept it and keep trying to change the world. It comes with your new job.
2. Everyone is Busy
There are going to be people who are too busy to help or do what you need them to do. Some will be busy, and others will just be full of crap, but they really think they are. You have to get around these people and find those who are bought in.
3. Penny Pinchers
There is always going to be a penny pincher up the chain who will not want to invest any money. They will have no problem going for business dinners and spending money on travel, but that $99 software will give them a heart attack.
Keep pressing and pushing and focus on the ROI. Spend money on things that you know will produce a return. Find a way to show them the math and make it clear that your investments will pay off.
4. Buy-In From The Top
It does not matter how great your idea is if you don't get buy-in from the top of the chain. You need someone with power to believe in you. Once you get that, they will get everyone else to get their asses in line.
If you fail to do this, you will always have a hard time getting the people and money you need. Focus your time on getting the higher-ups to buy-in. As a matter of fact, make the deal so sweet that they have no choice but to.
Go Get Started
Now you know how to be an intrapreneur. You have no excuses not to take action now. The worst that can happen is that your company says no. The upside is huge though, you could be legendary for the changes you bring to the table. It can open the door for new jobs, opportunities and even starting your own thing in the future.
Intrapreneurship is the future of keeping top employees happy. Not everyone is ready to start their own company but everyone desires autonomy and doing work that matters.