The Rise of the Intrapreneur: Succeeding Within an Organization

Tips of the Trade — By on May 29, 2014 at 8:00 am

There is a certain romanticism to entrepreneurship—the long nights, early mornings, pots of coffee, the determination, the risk and the potential reward—but startup life isn’t always for everyone.

For whatever reason you may have for not starting your own company, you are not alone. Perhaps you are strategically waiting to make that transition, or maybe you really like startups but would rather be in a supportive position than a founder’s position. Perhaps your dream is unrelated to a new business model—perhaps it is the dream of building a career with a reputable, established company you care about.

The entrepreneurship club is not meant to be exclusive—starting and building a business is about innovation, passion and growth. All of these start-ups are able to function because of 1) their own talented employees and 2) pre-existing businesses that support their needs.

If you have all of the characteristics of an entrepreneur, yet haven’t started your own business, are you “not” an entrepreneur? Of course not! Entrepreneurs are born out of taking action and seizing opportunity when it arises.

Out of this need for an expansive new term was birthed the concept of the intrapreneur. The intrapreneur is a powerful asset for any employer to have on their side because they treat the company they work for like it is their own. Behind the quality of their work is the same unwavering dedication, passion and integrity that entrepreneurship is founded upon.

Here are a few tips on how to market yourself as an intrapreneur:

Explain your character. That’s right. Don’t be shy. Are you a hard-worker who tends to out perform your peers because of your steadfast drive? Do you treat companies with the understanding and respect they deserve (as if they were your own)? It is ok to label yourself as an intrapreneur if it is something you feel comfortable with. Wear your pride not with ego, but with confidence. You are an incredible asset—prove yourself!

Be helpful, not pushy. As a business owner, every little thing matters. Every waste or inefficiency is on a list somewhere to be corrected. If you see an inefficiency, approach it with a helping hand, not an authoritative stance. Even though you treat the company as if it were your own, remember that it is not yours, and that you need to earn the trust to make executive decisions. Your purpose is to help the business owner, not take over his business.

Be a walking advertisement for the business. Employees are amazing brand ambassadors. Do you have a friend or acquaintance who constantly complains about their job? Have you ever called a company and their customer service representative was so unenthusiastic that it scared you off? It paints a less-than-perfect picture of the company in your head, and in some cases, turns away potential clients. Put your support behind the business. Talk about it with your friends. Share social media posts by your company. Get involved in company events. If you are always in the company’s corner, it will be in yours.

Recognize responsibility. You have been given the opportunity to showcase your skills and make a lasting impact on a company’s success. Staying in the attitude of gratitude can help you get through frustrating moments that may come up throughout the course of your day. Own that you are an important asset instead of seeing yourself as a number.

Business owners and employers, are you wondering how to find quality intrapreneurs to bring their talent to your team? Bring it up! Don’t be afraid of seeing an entrepreneurial business venture on someone’s resume. Instead of looking it as a risk, focus on the potential reward. All of that passion, all of that experience, all of that dedication can now be used for your company’s benefit.

Katelyn Oster (3 Articles)

Katelyn Oster is a writer and entrepreneur from Columbus and a graduate of The Ohio State University. She has startup experience in manufacturing, distribution, management and operations. She loves speaking with business owners and discussing the nature of the entrepreneurial spirit. In her free time, she loves writing poetry and is currently working on a science-fiction novel from various Columbus coffee shops near you.