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The power of “intrapreneurs” and 5 ways to become one

Intrapreneurs use their natural tendency to identify business opportunities and to come up with innovative solutions to problems

Innovative, creative, an appetite for risk, the ability to work proactively – these are all traits that we associate with a budding entrepreneur. But are these qualities incompatible with being an employee? Definitely not!

Starting your own business isn’t the only way to put your entrepreneurial spirit to work. Employees of organizations can use their natural tendency to identify business opportunities and to come up with innovative solutions to problems to great effect in their current role. As a group, we can call these self-starters “intrapreneurs”.

It’s clear that employers benefit greatly from the spirit of initiative that intrapreneurs bring to an organization. Their proactive way of working ensures that these employees are constantly challenging the status quo, helping their company to reinvent itself and to improve existing processes.

Intrepreneurs also benefit from their unique approach to working life. It can be said that these employees tend to enjoy greater feelings of satisfaction with their work: according to a recent survey conducted by the University of Phoenix, 61% of people who say they are satisfied with their job also note that their employer provides them with opportunities to exercise their entrepreneurial skills. The figure drops to 33% for those who report being dissatisfied with their job.

Taking these numbers into consideration, it makes sense to ask why businesses don’t do more to encourage the development of entrepreneurial culture among their employees. The same study from the University of Phoenix mentions that 70% of respondents believe that their employer does not effectively apply their employees’ skills within the workplace. How can businesses and employees work together to change this situation?

Support your inner intrapreneur

While it is an employer’s responsibility to create an environment that is conducive to the development of entrepreneurial competencies in their employees, it is also up to the employee to feed their own unique entrepreneurial spirit.

With this in mind, here are 5 ways to grow your inner entrepreneur.

1. Develop your skills. Keep up to date about trends and changes happening in your organization and your industry, in order to help you identify potential opportunities for your career and for your company.

2. Identify opportunities for improvement. Be on the lookout for solutions and ideas that can help improve your work processes, redefine outdated concepts and improve efficiency. In short, be innovative!

3. Find a mentor. Develop a rapport with a person whom you professionally admire and who has already achieved career goals that are similar to your own. Make them a mentor by asking questions and seeking advice when appropriate.

4. Take the time to reflect. Just having ideas isn’t enough in itself – learn to critically evaluate your ideas by subjecting them to feasibility studies and cost projections, determine the resources that would be required to implement an idea, and so on.

5. Express yourself. Having an idea and finding a way to make it a reality is one thing; to have your idea heard is another. Identify the channels and mechanisms that will allow you to pursue your idea to its successful conclusion.