I first discovered the value of intrapreneurship from one of the many sayings of Richard Branson, and for me his quote below summarises what it’s all about:
“Many millions of people proudly claim the title ‘entrepreneur.’ On the other hand, a title that hasn’t gotten nearly the amount of attention it deserves is entrepreneur’s little brother, ‘intrapreneur’: an employee who is given freedom and financial support to create new products, services and systems, who does not have to follow the company’s usual routines or protocols. While it’s true that every company needs an entrepreneur to get it under way, healthy growth requires a smattering of intrapreneurs who drive new projects and explore new and unexpected directions for business development.”
It’s fair to presume that we all highly respect and admire Richard Branson not just because of his business success but his positive attitude to learning, development and life in general. Branson was of course not the first to talk about this concept or coin the phrase but he did popularise it to a certain extent. However, there is a lot more to go in terms of application to everyday business. So,the question is ‘how can you make intrapreneurship work for your business?’
Learn to Recognise intrapreneurs
As with most things, it’s having the awareness first! Once you’ve gotten to grips with the concept of intrapreneurship, you will begin to recognise the qualities of a true intrapreneur. And it’s likely that you will find a few of them, amongst your own team.
To define the term, ‘intrapreneurs’ are team members who not only get stuck into their job roles, but also, actively look for ways to improve themselves and the businesses they work for. They are usually the first to instigate questions, and are always at hand to offer practical solutions for any business-related issue. It’s crucial to identify such valuable employees early on, so that you can harness their talent and position them in the ‘right place’, in your company.
Intrapreneurship Drives Innovations
Encouraging your team members to regularly share creative ideas with each other is a simple task, but a task that can lead to sheer greatness. Urge your team to get involved with the marketing aspects of your business. Remember, openness is key here; discuss how your company is performing and what everybody can do to improve its overall performance.
By allowing your team to contribute towards these discussions you will not only build trust, but you will also be helping them to think more like you- this will get the intrapreneurial part of their brain ticking. You may find that some team members have been sitting on intrapreneurial innovations, which could transform your company.
Retain Your Best Assets
You will inspire your team and make them feel valued if you allow them to ‘roam free’ as intrapreneurs. Let their creativity run wild and encourage them to work towards innovative, or vertical products and services for your business. One of the biggest benefits of doing this, is that your employees will be more likely to stay with you long-term. A Harvard study suggests that 70% of successful entrepreneurs first think of their business idea whilst working for an employer; however, they do not share their ideas as they assume their managers are not interested in their insights. Develop the confidence within your team members, so that they’re able to share new concepts with you, for you to then show your gratitude in return.
The business world is embracing intrapreneurship more and more. So much, so that several universities now run intrapreneurship courses. This means that graduates will soon be able to step into the business world, with confidence and key intrapreneurial qualities. Be prepared to be as self-assured as they are, and start building your own ‘dream-team’ of innovative intrapreneurs.
I’d be keen to hear about your experiences of intrapreneurship – have you tried it in your business, or do you plan to in the future? Leave your comments below or tweet @SafarazAli
Thank you once again for reading and for your support.
p.s I’m doing a lot more on youtube now – please take a look: https://www.youtube.com/user/safaraz