I'll bet you have known people who are very successful in their work, even if they work for someone else. Maybe the person is a hairdresser working in someone else's salon, but over time that person has created more following than anyone else in the salon and has a good reputation around town. Maybe the person is an administrative assistant and you notice that the office she manages seems to answer requests faster than other offices in the organization. There is finally a name for this type of person, and the name is intrapreneur. Intrapreneurs thrive and are highly successful in an organization. They like and need the structured system, and they don't want to assume risk. Yet they add value over and above what their job description says. They improve systems, service customers well, or are extremely creative about solving problems within the confines of what the organization will allow.
Many entrepreneurs hone their skills within an organization before going out on their own. I did, and I know hundreds of others who have done the same. The confidence built by working with a structure encourages some entrepreneurs to decide to leave the structure – they become willing to take on the risks themselves. If you are an intrapreneur right now, and you've decided you want to leave the organization and do it yourself, here are three ways to make it work.
- Start saving at least 10% of your money so that you'll be able to monetize your new business when you go out on your own. In other words, tithe to yourself. Keep your job while you build funds to carry you through the opening months of your soon-to-be business.
- Develop a “leave the 9 to 5” work plan. Set a date and then start working through the details. Build your plan for your new business, for sure, but also build your exit plan. The two plans should be seamless and supportive of each other.
- Start an informal advisory board for yourself and your new business. This can include supportive family members, friends, other successful entrepreneurs, or a coach. Share your plans and get feedback.
There are dozens of other ways to help yourself toward becoming an entrepreneur. But these three things are a great start and will give you structure. As an intrapreneur, you are used to structure. Make it and take it with you, and you'll be firmly on the path to success.
(c) Sue Painter