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Are you Intra-preneurial or Entrepreneurial?

By now you will have seen a number of posts on our site about entrepreneurship and qualities of being entrepreneurial. What it means to be an entrepreneur, the type of relationships they have, and their willingness to take risk. Magazines and media articles abound on the topic and all for good reason; entrepreneurs are the catalysts for a lot of great projects in our economic and social spheres.

As a society we celebrate the entrepreneur as someone willing to go it alone and build something from the ground up, and many amazing projects have begun in just that way. They started from nothing more than an idea.

Refining our take on the entrepreneurial, allows us to see the equal value of the intrapreneurs of the world.

When we discuss leadership however we’re often addressing the dynamics people face in teams and let’s face it, the majority of us work directly or indirectly with some type of existing organization. These circumstances often offer an incredible opportunity; to leverage the resources and capacities within the organization.

Refining our take on the entrepreneurial, allows us to see the equal value of the intrapreneurs of the world. These are the people who have transformed an organization from within. We hear of the high payoffs entrepreneurs get from a successful IPO after years of uncertainty and struggle, but look at what CEO’s get paid. These are the leaders who know how to work within an existing organization and create the change necessary to grow or adapt, and they are well rewarded for their talents.

Many of the skills one needs to excel at entrepreneurial pursuits are relevant to an intrapreneur!

Adapted business models can keep products and services relevant to a new generation of customers instead of losing an entire business segment to a competitor. We also regularly see the power a large and well-defined organization has to influence markets and build new ventures using their access to financial capital and already developed human capacities. (e.g…)

Many of the skills one needs to excel at entrepreneurial pursuits are relevant to an intrapreneur. How they’re applied can be quite different. We’ll touch on four important concepts an intrapreneur should be familiar with in our list below.

  1. Seeing & understanding opportunity:
    1. These are really just the building blocks of vision in leadership. Step one is having some perspective on the industry you work in, the system your organization serves, or the role your unit or division serves within the organization, then applying that perspective to some productive opportunity.
    2. Eg. Your business spends a lot of time internally communicating client needs to your technical department, if you invested in educating our clients in the specifics of your product they could communicate directly with your technical team saving time for you and them…
  2. Reading the mood:
    1. Is your organization or team ready for change? Is the leadership open to new ideas? Will they be open to your idea?
    2. Eg. In the language of organizational behaviour we often refer to the culture of a group. Is their culture sticky? Do they resist new things or are they open to the latest and greatest? Both have merit. There are businesses with over 100 years of experience being consistent. Their brand is built on being dependable. The tech industry on the other hand is built on constant invention and reinvention.  
  3. Gauging your agency:
    1. We don’t mean your talent agency, we mean your ability to effect or create change. Do you have the mandate to take on this project or delegate it to others? What resources do you need and do you have the authority or ability to influence them?  Who are the people in charge of major organizational changes? How can you influence your colleagues to accept a new direction?
  4. Understanding risk:
    1. We often discuss the risk an entrepreneur takes, financially, personally, or with their career when they launch everything they have after their passion project. But what about your job? Or your company’s resources? Maybe the job of one of your colleagues? What are the risks of not taking on an opportunity to adapt to a new market trend? There are plenty of risks when making changes within an organization
    2. E.g. If your idea doesn’t work, or members of your team are resistant when it comes to their implementation of it, how will that effect you, your budget, or their job? Are you risking a few discretionary dollars or your career?


There are plenty of other things for the intrapreneur to consider as well: timing, external partners or competition, impact, need… The list goes on. We hope you’re taking the time to consider the opportunities within your organization while recognizing the value of the institutional resources at your fingertips.



Very best wishes for your every success,

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