Are you looking to start your own company or join an existing one? Entrepreneurship has become an attractive career option over the last decade; the number of businesses started each year has increased from 2 million in 2000 to 6 million today in 2022.
Entrepreneurship is defined as the act of starting a new venture, usually with the aim of earning profit. An entrepreneur takes risks and makes decisions with minimal previous precedence or guidance. Thus, they will often face unique challenges and obstacles along the way.
On the other hand, intrapreneurship, a term coined by management guru Peter Drucker, is defined as the ability to take initiative within an organization. This approach means employees take responsibility for creating ideas and solutions, while still working within an established company.
Curious to learn more about entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship? Read on.
What is an Entrepreneur?
Entrepreneurship can take many different forms and is a word that is often tossed around. Before you decide whether entrepreneurship or intrapreneurship is right for you, it’s important to understand what these terms mean. So, what exactly is the definition of entrepreneurship?
According to Investopedia, the definition of entrepreneurship is the process of setting up a business. Entrepreneurs, those who partake in entrepreneurship, are individuals who create new businesses. These ventures are no small feat. Entrepreneurs are responsible for all risks that may occur during the process of entrepreneurship, but they are also able to reap all the benefits for themselves.
Some examples of entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship include small businesses in your local community, such as single-location restaurants or stand-alone grocery stores without franchises. Other examples of entrepreneurs include Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon; Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, and Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Meta, formerly known as Facebook. Though entrepreneurship can have its ups and downs and big risks, these successful entrepreneurs prove that there is potential for huge pay-offs!
What is an Intrapreneur?
Intrapreneurship is entrepreneurship within an existing organization. As intrapreneurship is becoming more and more common today, many companies now encourage employees to become innovative self-starters. The focus of intrapreneurship is to get employees to act with their leadership skills and business ideas and use company resources to come up with something to boost their place of work in a non-traditional way.
A prime example of intrapreneurship is the creation of Frito-Lay’s now-famous Flaming Hot Cheetos. In the mid-1980s, the company was experiencing a rough time, so CEO Roger Enrico announced a new initiative for all 300,000 employees to “act like an owner” – essentially, encouraging intrapreneurship in the Frito-Lay organization. Richard Montañez, a janitor, was picking up snacks at his local store one day when he had a business idea. He noticed that Frito-Lay lacked a product catering to Latinos. He decided to grab some Cheetos (before they had been dusted in the cheese flavoring), took them home, and covered them in a homemade spice mix. Afterward, he bagged them up and took them to a meeting with the CEO. The executives were beyond impressed, and Montañez was offered a job on the spot.
Entrepreneur vs. Intrapreneur: What’s the Difference?
Intrapreneurship is a relatively new concept, but it has become increasingly popular among young professionals looking to build careers for themselves outside of the traditional corporate world. In fact, according to a recent survey conducted by the National Association of Corporate Directors, almost half of millennials plan to start their own companies within five years of graduating college. This trend isn’t surprising, considering the high cost of starting a business and the low barriers to entry.
However, many people don’t realize that the skills required to succeed in entrepreneurship aren’t necessarily the same as those needed to run a successful startup as an intrapreneur; there are many key differences in the types of risk that each can run into. In fact, most startup companies fail because founders lack the ability to balance multiple priorities and manage competing demands. To avoid making costly mistakes, it helps to understand how different types of leaders approach problems and make decisions.
Characteristics & Mindset of an Intrapreneur
Intrapreneurship is often misunderstood within organizations. Many employees believe it refers to innovation and creativity, while others think it’s just about being entrepreneurial while working for a company. Still, some may think it’s just about being a valuable employee. However, there is no one definition of what a successful intrapreneur is. In fact, there are many different definitions out there and each organization defines intrapreneurs differently. Some companies even use the term interchangeably with entrepreneurship.
Intrapreneurs are high-performing employees who are typically assigned to explore new ways for a company or department to focus on internal innovation, improve upon current products, or stay ahead in the market. However, intrapreneurs aren’t necessarily always given an assignment, and individuals with innovative ideas, like you and me, can also pitch creative thinking and new ideas to senior leaders.
Innovation is a key driver of growth and success for businesses today. To succeed in the future, we must continue to embrace change and push boundaries. This approach requires us to look outside our comfort zones and consider new ways of doing things. We need to encourage everyone to become intrapreneurs.
Characteristics & Mindset of an Entrepreneur
A successful entrepreneur usually possesses several characteristics:
- Curiosity: Keeping a curious heart is important for entrepreneurs. Just like Steve Jobs said, “stay hungry, stay foolish”, entrepreneurs always want to learn more, know how to do better, and ask a lot of questions.
- Adaptability: Adaptability means that you are willing to make changes to your strategy or approach whenever necessary. You do this because you understand that no one knows exactly where things will go, and there is always room for improvement.
- Willing to take risks: Entrepreneurship is risky. Entrepreneurs are putting themselves in an incredibly vulnerable situation when starting up a new business. They’re taking huge personal risks, such as quitting their jobs, risking losing their savings, and even gambling with their future income.
- Persistence: Entrepreneurship is about being able to overcome obstacles and challenges. If you want to start a new business or break down the barriers to digitalization within an existing one, you’re probably going to face resistance. You’ll hear “that won’t work,” “it’s too expensive,” or “we’ve been doing things this way forever.” Many successful entrepreneurs never give up. Even if they fail, they learn from what went wrong and move forward. That’s why 72% of entrepreneurs agree on the worthiness of their grind. No matter how much talent you have and no matter how unique your business idea, you also need to be capable of putting in the hard hours required to realize your potential.
A common mindset for those who are interested in entrepreneurship and have entrepreneurial skills, like effective leadership skills or an innovative mind, is fear. Fear that your idea may never succeed, or you’ll sink a lot of time into something that is just a dud in the end. Many may say, “I’m too scared.” However, if you have a true entrepreneurial spirit, it’s much more effective to think “If I don’t try, I’ll never know.”
So, here are some ways to overcome your fear of failure:
1. Get over yourself.
2. Think big.
3. Don’t compare yourself to others.
4. Be willing to experiment.
Which Should You Go for? Entrepreneurship or Intrapreneurship?
Intrapreneurship and entrepreneurship are exciting paths to follow as a leader in your organization. However, there are major differences between the two, including the differing amounts of risk, reward, and mindset.
If you’re motivated, passionate, and not afraid to take risks and challenges, then becoming an intrapreneur could be a great fit for you. An intrapreneur is someone who builds innovative products or services within the confines of an established company. They work closely with colleagues, often without much help from outside sources, to come up with business plans within their own company to fulfill goals and further business development.
On the other hand, entrepreneurs are individuals who start their own businesses from scratch. They may build up a product prototype or minimum viable product (MVP), test it out, and see what works well and what doesn’t. Then, they iterate based on customer feedback and market demand. At the very early stages, they might often be involved in mundane tasks like administration, payment processing with the help of global payroll systems, or even social media moderation.
In most cases, it’s harder to become an entrepreneur than an intrapreneur. You’ll need to know how to manage money, handle investors, and think like a CEO. Essentially, you’ll need to be the one making the business plan, handling all the financial risks, and setting business goals. You’ll also need to deal with lots of uncertainty since no one knows whether your idea will succeed or fail. However, when you have financial gains, it’ll be all to your own credit and benefit.
If you’re interested in trying something new and challenging yourself, take ownership of your career path and pursue either option!
Although entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs may have different goals and mindsets, they are similar in a few things: an innovative mindset, a self-starter mentality, and a persistent approach. They have the ability to get things done and never give up. If you want to read more about entrepreneurship, this article is a great resource! Whether you’re an entrepreneur or intrapreneur, the digital landscape is one to navigate in our modern society.
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