I am an entrepreneur and a research analyst by profession, a blogger and traveler by passion.
First of all, I don’t intend to offend anyone with this article. It is purely my point of view. If you feel that what I am saying makes sense, great! If not, you are still entitled to your opinion. As I said, this is purely my opinion.
Now, we all know about entrepreneurship and we have all seen an entrepreneur. An entrepreneur, in its very basic sense, is none other than a businessman: a person who owns and runs a business (profit or non-profit). But what is intrapreneurship? I am sure that most of you haven’t heard this term before and even if you have heard it, you wouldn’t know what it is. So, allow me to first explain what it means.
What Is Intrapreneurship?
Intrapreneurship is a term often used (and maybe sometimes abused) by big progressive corporations. According to the American Heritage Dictionary, an intrapreneur is “a person within a large corporation who takes direct responsibility for turning an idea into a profitable finished product through assertive risk-taking and innovation”. So, what does this mean? It's simple, you have all the powers to take an idea and use your organization to create profits for the organization. You choose which direction you want to steer the organization. You are also free to take the necessary initiatives to drive the organization (well… at least most times).
The reason why intrepreneurship is becoming more popular across organizations nowadays is that it gives you responsibility, freedom and power, as if you were an entrepreneur within an organization. Now, doesn’t having that power feel great? Absolutely! But there is a small problem here. And that is why I don’t believe in intrapreneurship.
Is Entrepreneurship Really So Wonderful?
Well… while you feel powerful about driving the organization, there is a problem I see as a businessman or an entrepreneur.
I would like to digress a bit here into another topic, so that I can explain to you why I don’t believe in intrapreneurship. Robert Kiyosaki, a well-known self-made millionaire, author of the best-selling book Rich Dad Poor Dad, and a personal finance coach, talks about four quadrants every working professional can be grouped into. There are four ways of earning money in this world: being an employee (E), self-employed person (S), owning a large corporation (B) and being an investor (I). (Refer to the picture here.)
Now, the quadrants on the left differ from the quadrants in the right in certain ways. There are two huge differences.
- The quadrants on the left constitute almost 97% of world’s population and they have to fight for a bit more than 3% of world’s wealth. The quadrants on the right constitute just about 3% of the world’s population and yet, they get to control about 97% of world’s wealth… Wow! What a whopper!
- The quadrants on the left almost tend to work lifelong till they retire. And after that, their income literally stops unless they have setup a parallel source of income. There is no guarantee that they have saved enough money to do everything they would have loved to do. But, do you really think, that is the case with Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Azim Premji and the sorts? Absolutely not! They create a corporation, and when they retire, even if they write off 97% of their wealth to charity, they will still be back as the richest people in the world.
So, What Is the Problem With Intrapreneurship?
Coming back to the original topic, I will now relate it to what I spoke above. I learned one major thing from Robert Kiyosaki’s book. As long as I am an employee, whatever level on the corporate ladder I reach tomorrow, I will still end up broke after I retire, as my beloved organization never promised me that they will pay me a million dollars every year even after I retire. And considering all the EMIs we have, our expenditure, taxes, credit card bills, etc., we need to pay, and not to forget our health-related expenses as we grow old. I wonder how much we will save for the rainy day? And the owner of the organization I worked for would still be wealthier than me every year, as he will still be earning profits even if he retires.
As an intrapreneur, I may do everything a businessman, or an entrepreneur may do. I may take the same responsibilities, run a corporation successfully, and become a rock star in my organization and so on. But what would happen after I retire? Where would all my fancy titles go? Where would all my charisma as a corporate rock star go? What would my “challenging projects,” “employee satisfaction schemes” and all these give me after retirement? I can’t sell these for a million dollars, can I? Hell, I can’t even exchange these for medicine when I am too old to even get up and sit straight on my bed!
Now, isn’t that an interesting situation to be at that age? Think about it for a moment!
Let me know what your take is on intrapreneurship in the comments section.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.