Intrepreneurs apply here

23.08.11 | Posted in Entrepreneurship

I only hire intrepreneurs. They fit our high-growth, fast paced environment and they’re the only people I like working with. If you’re a ‘I just want a job and a salary and don’t want to rock the boat or do anything remotely risky or brave’ person, then it ain’t going to work.

Intrepreneurs are entrepreneurs working inside an organisation. They think like entrepreneurs in that they’re always questioning the status quo and looking for opportunities to grow the business or make life a little better for their customers and fellow team members.

So what makes a great intrepreneur? In my experience great intrepreneurs think like entrepreneurs, but they also actually get on and execute stuff. There’s no point having an organisation full of people like me, the typical entrepreneur, who’s a starter and an ideas person but is pretty useless at execution.

Here are a few tips to encourage your people to be more intrepreneurial:

* Build a culture of ‘every idea counts’: Have you ever worked for a boss or a company where you were shot down every time you suggested something? That’s a sure and fast way to kill innovation. Encourage your people to make suggestions no matter how silly they might seem. I’ve been in situations where the first idea might sound irrelevant, but after finessing it a little, it’s turned into a great one.

* Let them in on the numbers: Show them your P&Ls – let them see the expenses for the business and educate them on what it costs to run a business, so they in turn understand how important it is to focus on revenue and sales.

* Encourage risk taking and mistakes: Create a space where your people feel comfy to try things, and if they don’t work, pat them on the back and say ‘Better luck next time. What did you learn this time?’ This takes some guts (a lot of business owners are control freaks) but if you can nurture this culture you’ll reap the rewards.

PS We’re hiring at Business Chicks. This time it’s a Digital Marketing Manager. If you’re an intrepreneur, or if you know one who may fit the bill, click here for the deets.


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  1. Lisa Messenger

    A girl after my own heart again. Totally relate. Totally resonates!! Did I ever give you a copy of Cubicle Commando? I wrote it about 5 years ago – all about intrapreneurs – if not, I’ll shoot one across xx

  2. Emma

    Yes! All of your team at The Messenger Group are intrepreneurs, God love ’em! That Claire’s a rock star as I’m sure all your people are. Thanks for your comment and I’ll have to dig out my copy of Cubicle Commando – I do have one around here somewhere ;)

  3. Louise Maree

    I Love you Emma,

    I have so been feeling crappy because until I have rebuilt my financial situation (divorce does that) I have to work for other people. It goes so against so much that I have learned and I dislike being a “drone” at a job, but this GREAT reframe has allowed myself to be GOOD with offering my intrapreneurially skills:-)

    Thanks so very very much,
    Louise Maree

  4. Emma

    Louise Maree! That’s a first, hearing someone say they love me on my blog!! They’re usually saying that I am a bad parent because I work too much or that my choices in childbirth are dangerous ;) so to read a reply like yours brought a smile to my face – thanks so much!

    I bet you offer SO much to your employer, and I really hope they’re grateful for all your contributions.

    Best of luck with all your endeavours – I’ve no doubt you’ll continue to rebuild your life and go on to even bigger and better things.


  5. Kelly

    Hi Emma,

    I too think you’re incredibly inspirational and I love reading your blog and all things Business Chicks!

    I completely agree with this blog as well, especially about the culture of brainstorming and valuing ideas. Quite often really great ideas get swept under the carpet because of egos, or people don’t feel they can be open and speak up and contribute, which is a shame. I’m a strong believer in getting buy-in from all org members as it’s so valuable to have multiple viewpoints, particularly as we all have our own ways of viewing things (which is fine), but it’s refreshing to look through someone else’s ‘lens’ to really think about the way we’re doing things and how we can continually improve.

    Keep up the great work :)


  6. Emma

    Thanks Kelly for your lovely comment also. Agree 100% with all you’ve said. Hope your organisation shares the same views as you!

  7. April Neylan

    Hi Emma,

    I am new to this blog and must say that I really enjoyed reading this article. You are very motivating and I look forward to reading more from you :)


  8. April Neylan

    Hi Emma,

    I am new to this blog and really enjoyed reading this article. You are very motivating and I look forward to reading more from you :)


  9. Jen

    Hi Emma,

    It was lovely to meet you last year at a Business Chicks breakfast in Adelaide.

    Your comment that you are great at being the “ideas person”, motivating a team, thinking ahead and at the bigger picture etc, looking for growth, yet are useless at execution (haha) is something I can really relate to! I feel as though I have these similar qualities, from my time successfully running a couple of big student association groups throughout uni.. because I had a fantastic team that helped me get through all the organisational stuff and boring paperwork/admin work whilst I kept up the momentum, delegated, managed etc etc. Now I have left uni, I want to channel this drive I have again into something business related, but given my strengths lie more into the ideas rather than execution, I had wondered if this means I am not meant for business (because I’m only half of the whole picture so to speak!). I am not sure if this makes sense but bottom line is that firstly thankyou for your post it is inspiring to know that you have been so successful and you are this “typical” entrepeneur and secondly can you share a few tips on how you were able to build up a team to “execute”. Did you take any extra courses in the early days to try and help fill in knowledge gaps that may help with execution, or did you straight away try to recruit people to fill these roles? I am wondering if I should take a few short courses, get stuck into lots of business books, or just go for it once I decide on my business idea (I have too many bits and pieces of ideas floating around in my head at the moment!) and hope my passion fills in the rest.. :D

    Thanks Emma, I appreciate any thoughts and your time!


  10. Emma

    Hi Jen, lovely to hear from you. It’s actually all very easy (or can be.) Just get clear on what you’re good at and where you enjoy spending your time, and focus on those activities. Then, build a list of where you’re not so strong and find people who have those traits. So for me some of the things I’m not so good at are project management; people management (I reckon I’m a pretty good leader, but managing people and leading people are two entirely different skill sets); IT; HR/payroll/accounts – gosh, that doesn’t leave much for me to be good at!
    I’m an advocate of hiring upfront and trying to make yourself redundant as quickly as possible, but I appreciate that that’s not always possible (given cash constraints.) When cash is tight, consider hiring on a part-time basis, or utilising interns (providing you look after them very well and can show good value) until cashflow improves.
    And lastly on the business ideas, just choose one and see how you go. Better to do one well than a couple poorly (in my experience.) Hope some of that has helped!

  11. Jen

    Thankyou Emma that is really good advice and gave me a bit of a laugh when you were wondering what it is you are actually good at, I really appreciate your help! It’s good to know that you don’t need to be an expert on everything to run a successful business and best to stick with the one idea and do it well. It’s interesting that when I reflect on my previous experiences running a team, I realise I have already been using some of the principles you are talking about.. I suppose at the heart of it it’s common sense. Working out what I want to achieve, finding the right people, and working out what people, are probably the areas I need to focus on so some extra study and thought into business structures and the people who will need to be involved will be my ‘where to next’.
    I look forward to the next Business Chicks function and keeping an eye on what you are achieving!