When bootstrapping your company as an entrepreneur, you pay for everything yourself. Even with investment, you’re still using someone else’s money, not customer revenues. On the other hand, there are many financial benefits of intrapreneurship that go unrecognized – but are worth almost $40,000.
Being an intrapreneur is all about taking the creativity of entrepreneurship and applying it to your job. To be successful, you’ll need to nail certain project management skills like upward communication and business case creation.
But one of the biggest benefits you realize right away being an intrapreneur vs entrepreneur is that you don’t have ‘startup costs’. Here are just a few of the expenses intrapreneurs don’t have to pay (and entrepreneurs pay out of their own pockets).
Work environment expenses
Just existing in a work environment costs money – here are some of the biggest expenses.
15 – Desk
While the desk itself may not be that expensive (IKEA for $50), the real cost of your desk is the floor beneath it. The rent your company pays just for you have a place to work is an expense you’d have to pick up if you were on your own.
“Cafe memberships” at coworking spaces start at $250+ per month per person. Private desks start even higher. Kicking off the financial benefits of intrapreneurship, having a place to work is a big one.
We’ll estimate $500 a month for a private desk to start the running total.
14 – Printer, paper, and ink
A truly forgotten expense, because the world is pretty digital at this point. However, many legal contracts need to be printed out. Other times, printing is preferred for convenience.
While a decent-quality home printer only costs about $150, ink can run $50 per month or more. It adds up if you’re printing out documents for anything.
Running total: $150 fixed costs plus $550 per month.
13 – Stationery
Another of the typically forgotten financial benefits of intrapreneurship: pens, pencils, paper, notebooks, stickies, markers, etc – they all cost money.
You may even need to buy a whiteboard or chalkboard, depending on your work style, which can add even more to the total. All this could add up to about $250 in costs (and that’s not including any branded customizations you may want).
Running total: $400 fixed costs plus $550 per month.
12 – A mailing address
It seems weird to think of needing to pay for a mailing address, but that’s included in the rent payment.
If you’re on your own and want a private mailing address (instead of sending it somewhere semi-public like a coworking space), private mail services start around $50 per month. Yet again, the financial benefits of intrapreneurship can often go unnoticed.
Running total: $400 fixed costs plus $600 per month.
11 – Coffee!
Some offices have fancy espresso machines. Others have Folgers and a coffee maker. Either way, every cup you drink at the office is a cup you don’t have to pay for.
If you have one regular coffee a day (no fancy lattes), you’re running and average of $2.50 per day at Starbucks, $3.00 per day for a nicer cafe. Assuming you stick to Starbucks, that’s $50 a month in coffee (with 20 working days in a month).
Running total: $400 fixed costs plus $650 per month.
10 – Snacks and other food
In the race for top talent, many companies keep snacks in the office for employees. Some even provide fully catered meals weekly or daily.
These costs can really add up for entrepreneurs who don’t have this financial benefit of intrapreneurship. Even just snacks alone can be $5 a day. Lunch can be a further $10 a day. That’s $300 a month in savings, minimum, if your company provides you with snacks and lunch.
Running total: $400 fixed costs plus $950 per month.
Once you have the environment set up there are many tech tools intrapreneurs get access to for free as part of their jobs. Technology products account for a huge portion of the financial benefits of intrapreneurship.
9 – Laptop / computer
Often the biggest initial expense of starting a new employee, intrapreneurs get access to a computer for free as part of their jobs – entrepreneurs need to buy one or use their personal computers.
A new computer can cost up to $2,000 to have the requisite features and power for use every day in a business capacity (the low-end laptops for a few hundred would crash with the amount of usage a business person needs).
Running total: $2,400 fixed costs plus $950 per month.
8 – Subscriptions
Any subscriptions relevant to your industry become relevant to your intrapreneurial endeavors. Most of the time, these will be technology products that you use on a regular basis, like Evernote or Google. Costs widely vary, but even basic things like Google Suite and a CRM can cost $100 a month or more.
Intrapreneurs don’t even have to think about these expenses – IT sets everything up for you before you even join the company.
Running total: $2,400 fixed costs plus $1,050 per month.
7 – Web hosting
When you’re an entrepreneur, you have to cover the costs of having your website up and running. Intrapreneurs just don’t have to think about this. If they need a new landing page for a project, it can be built and added to the current web hosting. It’s another of the many financial benefits of intrapreneurship that are invisible to most employees.
Most small businesses spend about $300 per year, or $25 per month, on hosting.
Running total: $2,400 fixed costs plus $1,075 per month.
The biggest expense line item for most companies, labour is expensive. Add in other costs for intrapreneurs and you start to see how much you’re saving.
6 – Your salary
This one is huge! Not only do you not have to spend that money, but you’re paid whether or not your intrapreneurial project makes revenue. Many entrepreneurs go months, or even years, not paying themselves while they build up the business. Of all the financial benefits of intrapreneurship, this one is probably the biggest for peace of mind.
A salary of $60,000 means $5,000 per month in salary expenses. And that’s just for you, none of your coworkers that help on your intrapreneurial projects.
Running total: $2,400 fixed costs plus $6,075 per month.
5 – Contractors or outsourced labour for intrapreneurial projects
If you outsource labour for intrapreneurial projects, the company pays. Entrepreneurs don’t have the same benefit.
Getting a simple website built for a new initiative, for example, could cost up to $5,000 or more.
Running total: $7,400 fixed costs plus $6,075 per month.
4 – Health benefits
Your drug plan, massage plan, and dental plan all cost your employee thousands per year. Whether the premiums your employer pays on your behalf or the copays that insurance picks up (which bills the employer), it can add up.
Having a full health care plan for employees can cost $3,600 per year, or $300 per month.
Running total: $7,400 fixed costs plus $6,375 per month.
3 – Other employee benefits
Discounted gym membership? Other discounts and perks at local retailers? Catered dinners at company meetings? They all add up in ways that save intrapreneurs’ money – entrepreneurs don’t get the same benefits.
These costs vary, but for estimate’s sake let’s say it’s a further $50 a month in benefits.
Running total: $7,400 fixed costs plus $6,425 per month.
Direct project expenses for intrapreneurs
Once your project is underway (and you already paid for the labour), there are project-specific expenses you save on as an intrapreneur.
2 – Marketing and project launch
Need to get the word out when your new project launches? The company will pick up the tab. You may have to make a business case for the money, but it’s still not coming from your wallet.
A full project launch could cost over $100,000. But even a more conservative, simpler launch with just social media and other paid ads could run up to $5,000 with an additional $1,000 per month in marketing support. We’ll count the smaller launch in the running total, since that’s more likely what an entrepreneur would look to spend on a new venture.
Running total: $12,400 fixed costs plus $7,425 per month.
1 – Product development
If your intrapreneurial project involves building something new (which many do), the costs can be astronomical.
Estimates put a small product development project – one to get a “minimum viable product” in market and ready to serve customers – at around $30,000.
Total: $32,400 fixed costs plus $7,425 per month.
Even if your intrapreneurial project only lasts 3-6 months, that’s $54,675-$76,950 in expenses that you don’t have to pay – but you still get to be creative and entrepreneurial.
Financial benefits of intrapreneurship don’t mean less hard work
Just because you save a lot of money being an intrapreneur vs entrepreneur doesn’t mean it’s easy work. On the contrary, intrapreneurs take a lot of risk when they step up to a new challenge – there’s a lot at stake, potentially even your job if things go really bad.
However, creative people who want the opportunity to grow in their careers – either not feeling comfortable going on their own or simply don’t want to – can look to intrapreneurship as a way to take ownership and be entrepreneurial… all while saving up to $35,000+ in startup costs.