Intrapreneurship, as defined by Investopedia, is a system by which an employee can act like an entrepreneur while still belonging to a company. In most business places, intrapreneurs are essential to the innovation and growth of the company. Businesses benefit from encouraging intrapreneurship, and the more workers they have involved in it, the more likely they are to stumble upon the ‘next big thing.’
For the intrapreneur, once one makes it into a business, the key is to leverage what one knows about the industry to determine what works best in the current situation. Funding from above only comes with a well-fleshed-out idea that has a good premise behind it and a relatively decent chance of success. Coming up with the innovation is only half the battle. You then have to figure out how to apply that change to what the company does, then convince board members and investors that your idea is worth spending money on. But how does an intrapreneur do this? Below, we discuss four milestones that intrapreneurs should focus on when developing their designs, offering a roadmap to success for the shrewd intrapreneur.
1. Show How Your Innovation Helps
Intrapreneurial benefits come in different types. Some intrapreneurs focus on making systems more efficient, while some prefer to look at a better method of production or distribution than the company currently has. The overall goal of all intrapreneurial innovations is to maximize revenue and profit to the parent company. The problem most intrapreneurs have is that they notice the change from a purely methodological perspective. That perspective isn’t enough for a business to consider investing in the innovation.
Instead, what the intrapreneur should aim to do is to demonstrate how that innovation is likely to benefit the company. The approach the intrapreneur takes ought to be from the business perspective as opposed to an operations perspective. To fully flesh out how innovation is likely to impact the business economically requires doing some legwork.
The intrapreneur needs to investigate how the stakeholders feel about the particular system being focused on. Before pitching the idea to the board and investors, this firsthand information must be collected and put into a form that makes sense to the heads of the company. The short, medium, and long-term benefits to the company should be discussed to help them weigh the benefits the business will get from the innovation. The average head of a business is more likely to listen to a well-prepared pitch than to someone who merely has a brilliant idea with no facts to back it up.
2. Look at Return on Investment Instead of Costs
It can be enticing for an intrapreneur to look at the cost of a project as its redeeming factor. However, from a business perspective, the price isn’t the end goal, but rather a necessary evil. Businesses see innovation as a method for creating a return on investment (ROI). Inside HR mentions that companies need to set frameworks within which intrapreneurs can innovate. Among the things that most companies that encourage intrapreneurs to experiment and innovate look at for these developments is the ROI.
Revenue is not the only ROI metric that should be considered, however. Even businesses can benefit from inspecting the intangible ROIs that exist in the SEO services industry. Automation can be regarded as just as necessary an ROI since it lowers the cost of production for the company as well as makes the system more efficient. Employee retention could also be considered an ROI metric, since retaining skilled employees can be difficult for a company. ROI could be viewed as the amount of money and time saved educating and training new employees, simply by ensuring those that already are with the company are satisfied.
3. Develop a Roadmap, but Make it Flexible
Roadmaps are useful tools to keep a project on course. There are a series of milestones that the project needs to hit, and by leveraging more efficient time management, the intrapreneur can make sure the project stays on course and on budget. Additionally, a roadmap allows the intrapreneur to keep the focus of the project on the business’ goals. It provides for a system where the intrapreneur can ask who, how, and when and get clear answers.
The flexibility of the roadmap is that it doesn’t offer specifics. It can’t inform an intrapreneur who is slated to take which part of the project development. Fast Company mentions that having specific roadmaps that allow for risk/reward tradeoffs is crucial to the overall success of a project. Intrapreneurs that are working on creating a minimum viable product (MVP) can benefit the most from implementing roadmaps and following up with their execution. With MVPs, the scope is always the most critical issue, and the roadmap ensures that range doesn’t get out of hand.
4. Deliver the Pitch
Intrapreneurs could learn a lot from marketers, especially when it comes to delivering a pitch. The pitch that the innovator provides should be well-thought-out and heavily practices. The research gathered before should be presented in a format that anyone could quickly grasp, even if it simply involves ac repair. To garner success with a pitch, an intrapreneur should look at the following critical points:
- Formulate an Elevator Pitch: The elevator pitch, according to Lifehack, is a well-rehearsed, short introduction about something that catches the interest of the listener immediately. Ideally, intrapreneurs should try to keep this down to less than thirty seconds.
- Be Visual: Part of the whole process of making the information that the innovator gathered previously is to put it down in a way that can be easily recognized. Don’t be afraid to use charts and graphs to sell the idea.
- Create a Story: As most marketing students can attest, the crux of a marketing pitch is the story. Crafting an engaging story can mean the difference between the board taking interest or dismissing it as, not a bad idea, but merely one they have no interest in exploring.
- Use the Roadmap: The roadmap isn’t just for internal reference. While it doesn’t give exact dates and schedules for things being done, it creates a framework for what the end product is likely to be and allows the board to notice the effort that went into developing it.
Intrapreneurial Success Starts with Approval
The only way intrapreneurs can truly gauge their success is the completion of their projects. Getting approval is merely the first step to success, and while it’s a significant achievement, the rest of the road will determine exactly how useful the result is. Intrapreneurs can impact the fundamental operation of a business through pure innovation. While those innovations might be simple, it requires a specific kind of mind to spot the possibility where none existed before.