Be honest, you'd never heard the term, 'intrapreneur' before either, had you? Me neither, but it turns out it as a well-used and often quoted terminology in all fields of business.
Today, we examine the differences between the two and how both are extremely valuable to any growing business.
What Is an Intrapreneur?
The central difference between entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs is the setting in which they work. An intrapreneur is an inside entrepreneur, or an entrepreneur within a larger company, who uses entrepreneurial skills without incurring the risks associated with those activities.
In many cases, intrapreneurs can work on special projects that foster innovation within their organization.
Another key difference is that intrapreneurs don't take on as much risk as entrepreneurs because they work within a company rather than leading ventures on their own.
An entrepreneur is an individual who, rather than working as an employee, runs a small business and assumes all the risks and rewards of a given business venture, idea, or good or service offered for sale.
Intrapreneurs often use entrepreneurial skills to launch a new project or initiative within their organization.
Shared Traits of Entrepreneurs and Intrapreneurs
Despite their differences, the drive to innovate is something entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs share. They tend to have certain traits in common, such as the following:
Leadership: One of the most important characteristics of successful intrapreneurs and entrepreneurs is strong leadership skills. A key part of success is being able to achieve a shared goal. Creative management and diverse approaches to leadership are typical among both entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs.
Intelligence and vision: Intelligence can mean having the right skill sets and tools to complete a project, while vision refers to recognizing trends and capitalizing on emerging opportunities.
Adaptability: Both intrapreneurs and entrepreneurs can shift direction quickly when problems and challenges arise. Even the most promising plans and strategies can encounter roadblocks. However, adaptability means responding efficiently to any given situation.
Entrepreneur vs Intrapreneur: What are the advantages
For intrapreneurs, working within an existing framework offers many advantages.
One of the main benefits is that their organization can provide them with the resources they need. This can include human resources, a legal team, and financial oversight.
In addition, intrapreneurship enables professionals to utilize funding from their existing organization. There's no need to raise capital once the project is greenlit.
Intrapreneurs also have access to mentors. They can learn from supervisors and others within the company and utilize them as a valuable resource.
Entrepreneurship may offer more freedom because entrepreneurs are able to determine work culture, schedule, and even dress code for their business.
They also have the agency to make final decisions and effect change at a high level. Though entrepreneurs take on more risk, they stand to gain the most if their venture is successful.
If you are wondering how valuable an intrapreneur is to a company, and why you should be investing in these traits for future employees, just look at the story behind the SONY PlayStation.
Where Junior employee, Ken Kutaragi, created perhaps the greatest gaming console on earth, which only exists because one senior employee spotted the value in his idea, whereas many other SONY bosses dismissed it.
Check out this story and other great examples here.