Whenever we think of enterprising people we think of Entrepreneurs.
What about employees who are shaping businesses, inventing new products and services and are recognised as change agents by their employers? Aren’t they too entrepreneurial? Yes of course they are and we know them as intrapreneurs.
So what differentiates an Entrepreneur from an Intrapreneur?
Many employees are walking about without realising they are Intrapreneurs. They get up every day, go to work, spend their days offering solutions to problems, inventing new services and products and freely share their innovative ideas with their employers.
As employers, we happily rub our hands, knowing that the employees’ offerings are protected by intellectual property clauses in the contracts of employment.
So why is it that millions of Intrapreneurs are happy to provide their ideas in exchange for a salary, rather than venturing out and setting up their own businesses? Could it be fear of failure, fear of getting into debt, fear of ‘losing one’s shirt’! It may well be that Intrapreneurs just do not know where to start, a feeling that they do not know how a business should run?
- It may well be that intrapreneurs do not share the same appetite for risk as an entrepreneur might.
- It could also be that they are lacking in confidence or social skills and the idea of networking or going out on their own is a very daunting prospect.
- Possibly they want the stability that employment brings. The peace of mind that comes from knowing you will get paid every month. No invoices to raise and chase. No VAT to file, no funding to raise?
In Britain, we currently enjoy low unemployment rates. Yet having said this, there is no longer a guarantee of a job for life; neither is there a fool-hardy guarantee that we are safe in our employment. Innovation led manufacturing and services are our future.
This poses opportunity for those who think the glass is half full.
If you are a business owner or employer, recognising your intrapreneurs and developing their skills would be not only a great employer differentiator but will also ensure your business acquires the best Intrapreneurs in your space.
If you are an Entrepreneur, reaching out to intrapreneurs can assist you in your growth plans and in expediting your business goals.
And if you recognise yourself as an Intrapreneur; give some serious consideration to the contribution you are making not only to your employer and the economy. Raise your bar and your self-esteem as you are a key cog in the world of enterprise; whether you remain an intrapreneur or step into the world of the entrepreneur. Either way, think about what you need to do to plug your insecurities, improve your communication skills so that you can easily express your new ideas to those that are not in your field of expertise. And, ensure you get out there and meet people through networking so that you can challenge your thinking, develop your interpersonal skills and grow your confidence further.