Intrapreneurs and your business
The early days in a business are always an exciting time. Developing new ideas, exploring exciting sales possibilities and testing out fresh marketing opportunities – creativity and innovation is never in short supply when your business is first starting out.
However, after a while, it can be easy to settle into the day-to-day routine of running your company; meaning your business soon stops adapting and changing. This is where intrapreneurs could make a vital difference. Intrapreneurs often provide your company with the competitive edge it needs to continue developing.
And the best part is that you may already have an intrapreneur on your books. Here is Panthera’s guide to intrapreneurship, and how you can make the most out of your employees’ ideas.
What does intrapreneurship mean?
It is likely that you are already familiar with the term entrepreneur. This is a person who establishes a business by taking a financial risk on its future success. Their reward for doing this is that the profits are (mostly) theirs to keep and there may be a significant payday later on when you exit your company.
Intrapreneurship involves people creating and discovering new possibilities to develop an existing business. The intrapreneur themselves don’t take a risk but rather the company does. The result of this is that the business gains the eventual benefit of the innovation.
What does an intrapreneur do?
Intrapreneurs look for ways to improve the business from within by looking at the systems which are already in place and thinking of ways they can be improved.
For example, your business might have an issue with the lack of ways in which your customers are able to contact you. An intrapreneur could implement a system that would better suit the needs of the customer – for example 24 hour support, a Facebook interface, online chat support, and more.
Intrapreneurs can also help point your business in a different direction. They might identify a market that you could cater to with the resources that you already have.
Google launched Gmail through the intrapreneurial activities of one of their junior members of staff. He pointed out that Google already serves a lot of customers and that they already had most of the technology that an email service requires.
The benefits of intrapreneurship
Intrapreneurs are the people that can potentially solve the problems your business has. Low productivity, cash flow issues, and a lack of awareness for your brand are all issues that an intrapreneur can help tackle.
Intrapreneurship can also help highlight the leadership capabilities of your employees. There is an overlap between the skills that an intrapreneur has (robust thinking, adaptability, and punctuality with deadlines) that can also be seen in leaders. This can give you a better idea of who is better suited to be higher up the management ladder later on.
How you can promote intrapreneurship in your business
The first thing that you should do is let your employees know that risk-taking and failure are completely acceptable. This should be done with a level of caution, of course, but you don’t want your employees to think that they will be punished for trying something new.
Second, give your employees time out of their working days to work on developing business processes or investigating new markets. It is unreasonable to expect that they will go home and work on your business, unpaid. Carve out an hour or two every few days so that they can look at what systems you have in place and what your company could be doing better.
Finally, incentivise their hard work. Reward your employees if they come up with an idea that you would like to pursue. There are many ways that you can do this: cash bonuses, extra holidays, or a promotion are all common ways to incentivise intrapreneurial activity.
Remember, you aren’t looking to create intrapreneurs, rather, you are looking to bring out the intrapreneurial traits that your employees already have.
We can help
When your business is taking new innovative risks, you need to make sure that your business finances are able to cope with any risk innovation and development brings. Contact Panthera today on 01235 768 561 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.