Intrapreneur or Entrepreneur?  Most small business owners or business start-up professionals will describe themselves as ‘entrepreneurs’. The shape and size of an entrepreneur varies greatly, but here’s a sweeping stereotypical summary:

Entrepreneurs don’t work. They have great business ideas and take risks. They are outward-facing from the company and build vast empires. They are evangelists for their cause and are tireless in their pursuit of it. They are to be treated with reverence and carry a mystique about them. They can sell ice to Eskimos.

They are lousy at the detail and often move onto the next big idea before they have landed the previous one. Successful entrepreneurs are wealthy, while not-so-successful ones claim to be. You get the idea.

If you are an entrepreneur, then your business needs an intrapreneur. The intrapreneur is the entrepreneur inside the business. Your small business needs effective hands-on leadership. But how can you identify such a key component of your team? You can’t afford to get this one wrong.

To help, I have highlighted 30 ways to spot an intrapreneur; those key traits which mark them out as the special one, the one without which your business will suffer.


An Intrapreneur …

1 … wholeheartedly embraces the entrepreneur’s vision for the company

2 … earns respect, not demands it

3 … energises and excites people

4 … is prepared to admit when they are wrong

5 … listens to others’ ideas and opinions and takes action on them

6 … recognises the boundaries of their capabilities

7 … is consistent

8 … exudes positivity from every pore

9 … never brings domestic crises to work with them

10 … is prepared to take risks

11 … defaults to saying “we”, not “I”

12 … exhibits positive attributes such as fairness, integrity, compassion, loyalty

13 … understands the full spectrum of business activities

14 … works smarter, not harder

15 … deflects praise onto their team

16 … is a good time manager

17 … is not afraid to ask for help

18 … naturally attracts trust and loyalty

19 … believes in the carrot, not the stick

20 … makes sacrifices without hesitation

21 … understands the numbers

22 … preaches empowerment

23 … understands that if you never fail, you’re not pushing the boundaries hard enough

24 … communicates at all levels and in all directions

25 … seeks never-ending improvements, no matter how small

26 … thrives on change and hates maintaining the status quo

27 … takes humour seriously

28 … is not prescriptive or controlling

29 … loves their staff as much as their customers

30 … continually reviews their business planning process


Effective leadership in small business relies on – the intrapreneur.


An impossible brief?



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