Chad Sanschagrin: The difference between entrepreneur and intrapreneur

Myers Barnes new home sales Chad CannonballDo you know the difference between an entrepreneur and an intrapreneur? You should! And my friend and fellow coach, Chad Sanschagrin, is exactly the person to explain it. At the 2022 International Builders Show, Chad and Matt Riley will be presenting “The New Rules for New Home Sales: Re-evaluating Your Sales Process & Tactics in a Digital World” on February 9. 

Here’s some insight that Chad shared with me prior to the IBS 2022 presentation. Be sure to attend this session to learn more.

What is an intrapreneur?

You’re probably familiar with the concept of entrepreneurs. These are innovative risk-takers who want to control their lives more fully by starting their own business. You probably think of Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Richard Branson when someone mentions “entrepreneur”. For every success story, there are tens of thousands of people who have not achieved celebrity status but still realized their dreams of owning their own business.

What if you’re a bit more wary of taking risks with your life? You’re an innovator with great ideas, but not quite ready to take off on your own. Luckily, there’s a solution.

Be an intrapreneur. By definition, this is a person who applies entrepreneurial thought and action within a company they don’t own. It could be the head of a department—any department. Being an intrapreneur allows you to operate with the entrepreneurial mindset but without the risk of starting up your own business. While an entrepreneur has full autonomy to launch objectives, an intrapreneur must meet the expectations of the upper tier of authority . But in the right environment, it’s a small price to pay for having the security of employment while you wield your entrepreneurial spirit under the umbrella of someone else’s risk.

Why be an intrapreneur?

As the market shifts—and it IS going to shift at some point—people will want more control over their lives. Working from home has people accustomed to the comforts and convenience of being productive outside the boundaries of a cubicle.

For this role to work, your visionary thinking must be heralded by the company’s leadership. Is that a challenge? Not if you’ve chosen the right organization.

Do employers want intrapreneurs?

The short answer to this question is “They SHOULD!” A company thrives when the people employed there are happily fulfilled. If you define fulfillment as challenge, opportunity, growth, and security, and those needs are being met, then you should comfortably pursue intrapreneurship. If your leader encourages your creative approach to problem-solving and innovation, you’re in the right place.

Bill Gates, for example, enabled Steve Ballmer to become the world’s greatest intrapreneur. Ballmer joined Microsoft back in 1980, when the company was only five years old. Twenty years later, he took over as CEO until he retired in 2014. You can be sure he contributed his ideas and that Gates afford Ballmer all the privileges of intrapreneurship.

In the homebuilding industry, builders and developers should welcome intrapreneurs. They should seek talent that will take on a community with the mindset of owning it. That passionate commitment is essential to sales and marketing success.

Today’s builders have a lot to juggle: high demand, low inventory, supply shortages, delays, and finding buildable land, to name a few. Micromanaging each community is a waste of their valuable time. Expecting purely compliant behavior will not spark growth. In fact, it will halt progress dead in its tracks. Certainly, as an intrapreneur, you work within the company’s guidelines, but you push it to a higher level.

About Chad Sanschagrin: Chad is the founder of Cannonball Moments, a leadership and sales coaching firm. Known for his passionate, lively presentations and impactful coaching, Chad is a sought-after professional. He applies that passion into everything he does, which includes being a marathon runner and triathlete! At IBS 2022, he will also be presenting “Stop Wading in the Shallows: How to Build a Company Culture That Runs Deep” (February 8), “Protect Yourself Against the Great Resignation” (February 9), and “Avoiding Burnout” (February 10).

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