First there was the entrepreneur – The person who set up on their own, taking on financial risks in the hope of profit.
Then came the mumpreneur – The mother actively balancing the roles of mum and business owner.
There was the minipreneur – A vast army of micro businesses, freelancers, E-bay traders, part-timers, free agents, and cottage businesses.
The seniorpreneurs who are over 50.
And the infopreneur who makes money gathering and selling electronic information.
But now a new neologism has joined the throng – the intrepreneur.
And this is one likely to appeal to the masses because it can apply to anyone who doesn’t want the risks associated with being their own boss.
What is it?
An intrepreneur is similar to an entrepreneur – someone who takes ideas and runs with them, willing to try something new, aware of the risks as well as the rewards.
Entrepreneurs build their dreams by heading out on their own, starting companies and building businesses.
An intrepreneur shows this same kind of courage and focus – except that he or she does this while working within an existing company.
So while the entrepreneur is associated with creativity and disrupting markets to deliver something new, it is the intrepreneur who can carry that vision forward.
What stands in the way?
To be an intrepreneur you need to act as if you own the business that you work for.
That you have a vested interest in its turnover and profit. That you care about its messages. That you believe in its future.
There are two main obstacles to this:
He or she might not delegate sufficiently to give staff a sense of ownership. They might not trust in an employee’s ability. They might just feel reticent about handing the reigns to anyone who can do it better.
This is problematic.
After all, employee engagement is the only way to ensure employees are committed to their organisation’s goals and values, motivated to contribute to organisational success, and are less likely to jump ship.
The only way to tackle this is to encourage a culture of collaboration – where the thoughts and ideas of all individuals within a company are listened to and taken on board.
Creativity should also be encouraged – and rewards should be there for those who take direct responsibility for turning an idea into a profitable finished product through assertive risk-taking and innovation.
What are the advantages?
Why would you want to work so hard for a business you don’t even own?
Well one advantage to being an intreprenuer is that the risks are far less than for the self-employed.
Good employers today encourage intrepreneurship because they want their employees to be thinking about where the firm can be headed, what kinds of new products and services they can offer or how they can do what they already do, but better.
In addition the intrepreneur can take ownership of one aspect of what a company does.
A lot of young workers did this within their companies when social media started to take hold – they learned about how businesses could use tweets and messaging to help their companies, and in so doing they became indispensable.
That’s a form of intrepreneurship.
It also results in rewards – not just in terms of pay rises and promotions but also in terms of job satisfaction.
Realising the value
Many entrepreneurs need to realise that while they are brilliant at coming up with ideas, they can be rubbish at executing them.
This is why so many successful firms these days have come to realise the value of intrepreneurship.
Here are some top tips on creating an intrepreneural environment in your firm:
Encourage your people to make suggestions no matter how silly they might seem.
Educate them on what it costs to run a business, so they in turn understand how important it is to focus on revenue and sales.
Create a space where your people feel comfy to try new things and where mistakes can be made and learnt from.
It’s up to leaders to set out their stall for the future – a vision that is good for the organisation and that means something to staff. But the narrative must be ongoing and not just a one-off.
Your employees know first hand what works and what doesn’t. If you can harness that knowledge productively you will get better decision-making and more innovation. Talk to them.
Dayle Bayliss works on a consultancy basis to create a culture of creativity in an organisation. For more information click here