How to Be an Intrapreneur

Perspectives
Mar 17, 2010
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5 Min Read

Many employees are entrepreneurs at heart and believe they have to leave the corporate world in order to fulfill their dreams.  This is not necessarily so.  If you’re lucky, your organization is one that supports intrapreneurship – or the practice of entrepreneurial skills and approaches by or within an established organization. Employees, perhaps engaged in a special project within a larger firm, are encouraged to behave like entrepreneurs even though they have the resources and capabilities of the larger firm to draw upon.  Intrapreneurs focus on innovation and creativity and transform good ideas into profitable ventures.

Seek sponsors for your idea

If this sounds interesting to you, your first step is to identify a good idea for a new or improved process or product.  Then, seek a network of peers and sponsors to help you evaluate it and get it off the ground.  You might approach a more senior manager who can open doors or someone with technical expertise who has know-how and credibility.

Do your homework

Before you pitch your idea to a wider audience,  prepare a business plan.  Address your audience and speak in terms they understand.  Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, and know when to let go.  Even if you’re convinced your idea will make the company billions, if you can’t sell it, move on to something else.

Take your time

Starting an intrapreneurial project out of thin air is going to be more challenging than joining an existing committee whose job it is to generate fresh product ideas.  You should wait until you’ve been around a while and have proven yourself as a smart, capable employee, and even then it takes guts, because there will always be some higher-up whose mission is to preserve the status quo.  Your best bet is to put together a bulletproof case that clearly demonstrates how your concept will benefit the company, and to share it subtly and modestly, one person at a time, until you have enough supporters to counter the naysayers.

Have you tried intrapreneurship?  What were the results?

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