An entrepreneur is a singer/songwriter. An organization is an orchestSave as Draftra. In many ways it is easier to be an entrepreneur because you only need the basic six string version of a strategy. Then you read your audience and make adjustments in real time.
An entrepreneur is a surfer; a CEO is a captain of a ship. Like a surfer, a good entrepreneur is in tune with his environment and knows how to time the waves and become one with them until they are spent. Then he waits to synch up with the next wave.
When you trade your surfboard for a boat, you have to navigate more than a single wave. That is where the concept of a sustainable strategy comes into play. How do you take advantage of the tides of business opportunity without finding yourself completely off course when the party is over? You need a strategy for aligning yourself with an enduring market opportunity. As a sailboat tacks to take advantage of a prevailing wind, its ultimate course is plotted more strategically. Lighthouses and landmarks point out the strategic destination.
Inherent in this comparison is why entrepreneurs often do not make good managers and good managers do not make good entrepreneurs. The skill-set and mindset is different. It's is why MBA schools do not teach you to be an entrepreneur.
Intrapreneurship, entrepreneurial behavior within the confines of a larger organization, follows the same path in that unmet needs are identified and creative solutions are proposed. However, the work of an intrapreneur is more difficult and complex because of the inertia of corporate bureaucracy. He/she has the advantage of resources, however. The book "Blue Ocean Strategy," by Kim and Mauborgne is a blue print for organizational level intrapreneurship
It's hard to teach elephants to dance, but next to impossible to herd cats. The ecosystem of business strategy has a place for both. And to all you budding entrepreneurs out there, remember "that opportunity of a lifetime comes around about once every six months." Even if you wipe out, there will always be another wave.
Mark Towery is Managing Director of Geo Strategy Partners
Geo Strategy Partners focuses on market research and strategy for industrial and B2B markets.