Often we hear about the enterprising innovation and fearless undeterred pursuit of success by what we call an “Entrepreneur”. Being an Entrepreneur often means you are the creator, inventor and innovator of something new and exciting, always developing and looking for opportunities. Being an Intrapreneur requires much of the same skills of an Entrepreneur but is by far more challenging even though both deal with obstacles and opportunities (if you don’t believe me keep reading). The praise and publicity is nonexistent for the Intrapreneur, and this is why it is so rare that we hear the term or about their success in resuscitation of a business. An Intraprenuer is often able to save face for the company and shift directions, adopt better practices and redevelop the existing business to a better working model, not an easy task.
Intrpraneurs and Entrepreneurs share the same business development challenges relating to growth, adaptation and best practices, however the Intraprenuer works from the inside framework of an established business. Being tasked with reviving a “dog” of a business into a “cash cow” is a challenging task. Made even more difficult when set against the status quo of an established business and disrupting the comfortable workforce and existing management. Often in this scenario change is seen as an unnecessary risk and a threat. It is in this redevelopment phase that the Intrapreneur is required to be the same innovator as the Entrepreneur, with less support, and no room for error.
Maintaining a ‘Start-up business mentality’ is advantageous for both Entrepreneurs and Intraprenuers, the energy and ‘mojo’ of the start-up is highly desirable in any industry. The creative momentum and open possibilities are readdressed when an established company is able to think outside of their own box and allow an Intrapreneur to step in and step up.
With the rapid and competitive evolving nature of technology products being developed (and already on the market) it is common to hear about major corporations like Apple, Microsoft and Yahoo moving key players around to stay in touch with their market. “Moving key players” is just a nice way to say “firing those that do not produce immediate results”. Similar to the loyalty that exists in professional sports, if you don’t win the games coach, you’re out! Nothing personal! Being an Entrepreneur or Intrapreneur, both immediate result driven positions, do or die.
An Intraprenuer is a key player that is able to foresee a need for a change before its necessary; they are willing to face internal opposition and constantly innovating within the company. Disrupting the norm and ruffling the company feathers while trying to gain cooperation from the company elders are all necessary parts of doing the job of an Intraprenuer and won’t make you Mr. Popular at the office.
So for those days that your plate is full and the mountain seems too high to climb, remember that the landscape is yours to paint, the vision is your own. Take a deep breath and look around at your blank canvas. Now aren’t you glad to be an Entrepreneur today?