Intrapreneurship – the invisible entrepreneurs
In the last decade, there’s been a growing fascination with entrepreneurs. The growth of new technology has brought about a number of quick successes, bringing us a generation of Mark Zuckerberg-type young businesspeople. The world is fascinated by these rising stars, inspiring a generation of young people to set their sights on success. The internet is awash with ‘top young entrepreneurs to watch’ lists and the like and ‘start-up’ has got to be one of the buzz phrases of the decade.
While entrepreneurism is certainly a fascinating pursuit, we’re forgetting an even greater number of ‘intrapreneurs’. The intrapreneur is someone who applies the typically entrepreneurial behaviours to the business they are employed by, working for the success of a company rather than creating something new or looking for all the credit.
Think of them a bit like a worker bee who gets promoted to drone status. Rather than risking it all on start-ups and new business ideas, they’ve plugged away and proven themselves to reach their success. The intrapreneurial route to success involves significantly less risk than the entrepreneur. Some of the most obvious intrapreneurs to be found in any business are its sales people.
Sales is quite a high pressure function which usually comes with targets and KPIs. Depending on performance, this can lead to long hours to boot. However, talented sales people can deliver a huge amount of business income, making them easily recognisable as intrapreneurs. It’s no surprise that sales people are programmed with entrepreneurial-type behaviour when they’ve chosen a career where they’re motivated by targets, perks and benefits.
It’s time we recognised that the entrepreneurial spirit isn’t confined to start up owners; it’s present in every successful business.