4 Steps to Become an Intrapreneur
You're ready to become an intrapreneur, you've got your idea, and you've got your ambition.
The question is, what do you do next?
In this post, I'm going to tell you the four steps that you need to take if you want to become a successful intrapreneur.
Yes, in order to become an intrapreneur, you need to have an idea, and that's all well and great. But without a plan, your idea is simply just like that - an idea.
It doesn't need to be some crazy color coded thing, and it doesn't require any Gantt charts. Although I must admit, I am a fan of a good Gantt chart.
What you need at this stage is a rough map of how you're actually going to bring that idea into reality. It has the obvious benefit of helping you achieve buy in from whoever you need buy in from need to work with other teams, this is going to help show them what's going to happen you buy in from your manager, this is going to demonstrate what you're about to do. The biggest win in terms of actually developing a plan before you go head on to an idea without one is that it's actually going to help crystallize the vision for you. It's going to help you approach your innovation from a tactical perspective, so that the intrapreneurial initiative is going to go much smoother and much closer to a plan because the plan exists.
Determine the type of intrapreneurial program available to you
If you're at a big company, there may be a formal intrapreneurial program, like we talked about in our examples post. In fact, that there may even be an entire job that is dedicated to intrapreneurship.
But if you're at a smaller company, it's probably something that is less formal, and might actually even be an expectation of you in your day to day role. So what you need to do is figure out which one is actually available and which one is a better fit. If it's something that requires 100%, dedication, resources, budget, figure out if there's a formal program, but most intrapreneurs are tackling their initiative as a side hustle to their core role.
What does that mean?
It means that whether you have a formal program or informal program, you're welcome and invited to pursue projects that are going to improve the overall well being of your company and help you to grow without any red tape.
If you have a formal program, and you do need to participate for any intrapreneurial projects that you take on, you need to find the right people to talk to to figure out the application process and how you actually get approvals. It's going to be a lot easier if you can go the informal route. Either way, you're now going to move into step three...
Getting buy-in and approvals
If it's a formal process in order to get sign off your intrapreneurial project this is kind of obvious. But even in an informal setting, there may be times where you're actually required to get an approval.
For example, if your project or initiative involves any sort of budget, and you don't actually own any budget yourself at your company, you're probably you need someone else to sign off. Same goes if there is going to be any investment of time that is going to impact maybe KPIs for your team, you're probably going to need some sign off in order to do that. Similarly, if there is a cross functional collaboration that is required, in order to put your initiative to life, it's likely that you're going to have to at least talk to the people not only on the team that are going to be helping you. But it's even possible that you're going to be pitching to the leadership of that team as well.
Now, here's where it can get a little bit complicated.
Depending on your manager, in most cases, the first person that you're going to talk to you, whether you're going through a formal program, or an informal process is going to be your manager. Ideally your manager is going to help get you the support that you need, they're going to give you guidance. And they can be really instrumental to the success of your intrapreneurial initiative not only in the support that they directly give, but in the indirect support they're able to give.
However, that's on the assumption that you have a good manager - or at least on a manager who is low key threatened by your talent and potential. Now, if this is the case, at some point, they're still going to need to know. And this is where it actually is really challenging. In that case how to proceed with your initiative and still frame it for success is really going to depend on your company, as well as your manager and your unique re