How to be an intrapreneur

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Vice President Sales at Yaymaker, overseeing virtual experiences and corporate events to give people and employees more Yay in their life.

You do not have to be Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates to be entrepreneurial. If you work for a company and have ideas to help your company, try to be an intrapreneur.

An intrapreneur is an employee who spearheads a new idea or project that can help their company grow. It can be as simple as testing a new product, a new service, a better way to communicate, an expansion to a new market or an improvement to a current system.

In order to be an intrapreneur, do the following six things:

1. Have ideas, and write them down.

Keep your eyes and ears open, and constantly think of ways that can help your company. Write your ideas down in a journal, or type them into a spreadsheet. Make sure your idea solves a problem, improves a situation, increases revenue, improves customer service, increases employee engagement or simply makes your company better. After reviewing all your ideas, pick the idea that you think has the combination of the most impact and the most feasibility to implement.

2. Do your homework.

Do your research to make sure the idea aligns with the company’s objectives and to see if other companies are pursuing similar ideas and how well those ideas are working. Determine the costs, risks and potential benefits of working on this idea. Understand how your idea will impact other departments. Many ideas are blocked because they negatively impact other departments, causing those departments to modify some of their bandwidth or procedures to implement your idea.

3. Create a plan.

There are many different ways to create a plan. One way to start is to create a SWOT analysis. A SWOT analysis identifies the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of a new idea or initiative. After completing your SWOT analysis, write out a plan for what will be necessary to execute your idea. Share what resources you’ll need, how long it will take, the steps that you need to take, and how you will evaluate progress and track success.

4. Build an internal coalition.

If you have an idea you think has potential, collaborate with people in other departments who you trust and work well with. Many people are protective of ideas and feel concerned that other people will steal them. However, if you share your idea with different colleagues, they will know it was created by you, and they will appreciate you asking for their input. By teaming up with others, you will not only get different perspectives to improve your idea, but you will strengthen your internal relationships and have a sphere of influencers to help you get more traction on your idea.

5. Present your idea, and tell your story.

The best entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs know who they are trying to influence, as well as how to effectively communicate the benefits of their ideas and tell stories. Know who the key decision makers are, and ask if you can schedule a time to present your idea. Make sure your direct manager knows about your idea and supports your initiative. Invite your internal coalition or other colleagues to present with you. Share the background of how you came up with the idea, your SWOT analysis and your plan to execute. Recognize your colleagues who helped you improve it. Deliver your story with confidence.

6. Ask for feedback, and continue to improve.

Whether your first idea gets the greenlight or not, always ask for feedback, and incorporate that feedback into your original idea and future ideas. Many of your ideas may not move forward. The key is not to get discouraged, but to learn every time you present one.

Originally published on

Matthew Rolnick, Vice President Sales at Yaymaker

Matthew Rolnick
Vice President Sales

Media thought leader and experienced sales leader with strong interpersonal skills and a track-record of exceeding sales quotas and developing people (especially Millennials and Gen Zers). Skilled in Innovative Revenue Concepts, Sales Strategy, Sales Management, Public Speaking, Teamwork, Strategic Planning, Social Selling, Inspiring People, Culture Building, New Business Development, Corporate Partnerships, Delivering Results and Digital Strategy. Graduated from University of Wisconsin and received a master’s degree in Integrated Marketing Communications from Northwestern University.

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