How NOT to be a successful intrapreneur

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How NOT to be a successful intrapreneur

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A while back I posted on a Guy Kawasaki phrase, intrapreneur. It’s someone who’s an entrepreneur, but inside a large company, instead of out on his own.

Well, as someone with some experience in intrapreneurship – and someone who’s made his fair share of mistakes – here’s how to not be one. Or, at least, how not be a successful one.

  1. Stay in corporate HQ
    Be in the corporate offices. Don’t separate yourself or your team physically. This will ensure that you stay connected to the big boat, and you will only move when it moves. Then you will be nimble and able to navigate wherever you need to go, whenever you need to move.

  2. Rely on shared resources
    Don’t require your own team. Instead, rely on shared resources. Why? Well, first off, they’ll always be available when you need them. Secondly, they’ll have your best interests and the new start-up’s best interests at heart, which will never conflict with the parent company’s.

  3. Go as big as possible as quickly as possible
    The parent company is a cash cow, so treat it as such. Go as big as you can as quickly as you, regardless of whether or not you’ve validated your market premises. Big failures are much better on your resume than tiny successes.

  4. Meet often with the parent company
    Meet with the parent company regularly. Say once a week. This will ensure that you will set a course identical to the one the parent company would have set, as if your start-up is just a new division. This helps you meet the needs of your market, which in all cases and all times is precisely identical to the parent company’s market.

  5. Treat your start-up as just another job
    Your new job is just another project. Fill in the boxes, check off the lines, dot your T’s and cross your I’s, and you will complete the project successfully, just like all your other ones. Running a start-up, after all, is just a matter of execution. Do the right things in the right order, and success will automatically follow.

  6. Do nothing without approval
    Always get all major decisions discussed and approved by the parent company. Then you have the great advantage of being able to move at exactly the pace at which the parent company can afford to spend time on you. This way you will never miss big opportunities or be late for key launches.

Naturally, I have never made any of these mistakes. Of course not. Never happened. At least, I have no recollection … can I take the fifth? (Whatever that is.)


2 Comments

Roman Rytov

October 24, 2006at 3:59 pm

Hi John,
Would you mind answering questions I ask on my blog about differences between corporate startups and typical ones?
http://roman-rytov.typepad.com/miles/2006/10/corporate_start.html

John Koetsier

November 23, 2006at 12:15 pm

Certainly, Roman!

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