Before we get into the nitty-gritty of things, however, please allow me to tell you first how entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs differ from typical employees.
Entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs set themselves apart from typical employees in many ways; but most especially in their relationship with the business they’re in. Employees are merely involved with the business; whereas, entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs are committed to the business. You can compare it to a cow. When a cow produces milk, it is involved; but when a cow becomes a burger, it is committed.
An entrepreneur is someone who, through his or her skills and passion, creates a business and is willing to take full accountability for its success or failure. An intrapreneur, on the other hand, is someone who utilizes his or her skill, passion and innovation to manage or create something useful for someone else’s business... with entrepreneurial zest.
Though both are visionary, it is the entrepreneur who spots an opportunity in the marketplace and has the courage and zeal to turn this opportunity into a business. In contrast, however, the Intrapreneur uses his or her passion, drive and skills to manage the business or create something new and useful for the business.
The main disparity between an entrepreneur and an intrapreneur is that an entrepreneur has the freedom to act on his or her whim; whereas, an intrapreneur may need to ask for management’s approval to make certain changes in the company’s processes, product design or just about any innovation he or she needs to implement. Since an intrapreneur acts on innovative impulses, this may result in conflict within the organization. It is important for organizations who are implementing intrapreneurship, to create an atmosphere of mutual respect among employees.
When it comes to resources, the intrapreneur holds an advantage over the entrepreneur since the company’s resources are readily available to him or her. Conversely, an entrepreneur has the difficult task of sourcing for funding and resources on his or her own.
So, in summary…
Intrapreneurs vs. Entrepreneurs
- Entrepreneurs provide the spark. Intrapreneurs keep the flame going.
- Entrepreneurs are found anywhere their vision takes them. Intrapreneurs work within the confines of an organization.
- Entrepreneurs face many hurdles, and are sometimes ridiculed and riddled with setbacks. Intrapreneurs may sometimes have to deal with conflict within the organization.
- Entrepreneurs may find it difficult to get resources. Intrapreneurs have their resources readily available to them.
- Entrepreneurs may lose everything when they fail. Intrapreneurs still have a paycheck to look forward to (at least for now) if they fail.
- Entrepreneurs know the business on a macro scale. Intrapreneurs are highly skilled and specialized.