Small business owner titles can vary from the standard (CEO, owner) to the specific (head plumber, director of technical operations) line of business or services rendered. Every entrepreneur should make his or her own decision about the right title to use. But there are some things to think about to help you determine the title that works best for your particular company and your role there.

When you are a small business owner trying to choose the right title to fit your position, it is normal to feel overwhelmed by the number of choices you may have, or to think that your only options for business owner titles are “owner” or “CEO”.

Blog You May Like – How To Write A Small Business Plan With The 8 Simple Steps

Business titles for small business owners should be compatible with the company’s goals and objectives, but they should also feel personal. You are the owner of your small business, but you also wear many other hats and your business title should reflect your multifaceted role.

We have put together a few worth-mentioning small business owner titles as well as some simple steps to follow when deciding what small business owner title is right for you. Then, you can take a look at our list of both common and creative titles to see if the one you like is on that list. And if not, you are the boss, create your own!

Is Having a Small Business Owner Title Necessary?

This is a very big question for every small business owner, particularly if you own the business solely without a partner. Therefore, choosing a suitable small business owner title for you will define your position in your small business and can be a good way of addressing yourself on how your customers. Also, your clients will call you once they are doing business with your company.

However, some people might think of this as a sort of funny idea, but for some owners, it has a great significance. When you conduct business deals with your clients, are they asking you about your title? Labeling yourself with a title can complete formality for your position as the owner of the small company.

For example, if you indicate in your best business card that you are the “CEO” or “President”, they might think that you are a company that belongs to a large corporation. But, if you say that you are the “Manager” or the “Founder”, this is more formal and they will initially think you are really the owner of the small business.

Actually, there is no general rule is implemented on what title you can label yourself when owning a small business venture, except if your business falls in an LLC, partnership and Corporation category.

Blog You Should Read – How To Create Your Own Business Cards And Why Your Still Need Them For Your Small Business

In bigger businesses and corporations, it is appropriate to use titles as it connotes the position and function of the person in the company. For example, Chairman and Director are different positions and have different functions for the company, so these titles should be used accordingly.

Top 18 Small Business Owner Titles to Consider

Now that you know what steps to take as you choose your job title as a small business owner, let us take a look at some job title potential options. You have so many choices when it comes to picking the right small business owner title and we would be hard-pressed to list them all.

But, after surveying small business owner titles in a variety of industries, we were able to gather and collect some of the most common business owner titles for you to consider in 20202.

See if a few of these titles suit your style and then take a practice run at a networking event by introducing yourself using those titles. You will quickly know which ones feel right and which ones simply are not a fit.

Blog You May Like – Free Marketing Ideas For Small Businesses

1. Chairman/Chairwoman

Choosing the small business owner title as “Chairman” for yourself will indicate that you are the existing owner of your business. This term is generally implied to a business owner who has several ranking individuals below him/her.

The chairman holds top position as an officer of an organized group such as a board, a committee, or a deliberative assembly. The person holding the office is typically elected or appointed by the members of the group. The chairman/chairwoman presides over meetings of the assembled group and conducts its business in an orderly fashion.

2. Founder

In recent years, the title founder has gained popularity within businesses, particularly in the tech industry that starts small and very hands-on but has fast growth trajectories.

Calling yourself a founder conveys to your earliest employees that you intend to take a bootstrapping approach to your growth and be highly involved in the day-to-day work, all of which can improve the camaraderie and teamwork between you and your staff.

Keep in mind that a founder is defined as the person who originated or started the business, so it is not an appropriate fit if you purchased an existing business or bought shares in an established company.

3. Owner

For those small business owners who have not filed organizational documents as a partnership or corporation, the title of the owner is a straightforward way to denote who holds the financial ownership of your company.

And the owner has less gravitas than either president or CEO, but this might work well if you are the operator of a very small business, such as an LLC or sole proprietorship, who has fewer to no employees.

4. Proprietor

If you feel that your role in your small business fits the definition of the owner, but that term does not feel quite right, there’s a second option. The proprietor is an older term used to mention the owner of small business and is particularly common within small, main-street style retail businesses.

Blog You Should Read – 30 Best Business Books For Start-ups, Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses

5. President

Many people consider “president” to be interchangeable with the CEO. Again, this title conveys authority, so it is an option worth considering if your goal is to give your business the gravitas of a more established firm. When there is the selection between president and CEO, consider your legal types of business entities, as well as how you want to structure the titles of additional hires as your company grows.

6. CEO

Chief Executive Officer, or CEO, is a common title in the business world and will leave no one in doubt that you are in charge of your company. If you want to convey that your company is well-established or has a large team of employees, the CEO might be the right title for you.

Conversely, if you are a sole proprietor, the term CEO might give off a stuffy air that does not accurately describe your business or your role within it.

Blog You May Like – LLC vs Corporation – Key Differences and How To Choose One For Your Small Business

7. Principal

If you are looking for something a little more official than the owner but you do not feel up to the level of CEO, you might consider the title of principal.

Even though it may conjure memories of middle school detention, the principal is a common small business owner title, particularly for owners of small agencies or consulting businesses.

8. Director

`Would you prefer a business position title that gives you the authority of ownership but is more descriptive of the daily role you play within your business? Consider a title that includes the word “director”.

Blog You Should Read – The 5 Best Business Debit Cards For Small Business Owners

9. Managing Director

For those who have a dream to be known as the professional-sounding title of business that does not necessarily mean you have to be the singular owner of the business, managing director may be a satisfying option.

10. Technical Director

For technical businesses, a technical director can serve as a title that fits within your actual niche.

11. Creative Director

Similarly, creative directors can be a great title for those who run creative businesses like design firms, fashion lines, and art shops.

12. Director of Operations

Director is a title that can be especially essential for businesses that want their industry or specialty included in the title. You could go with just the general director of operations title or choose something more specific like the director of technology for an Information technology company.

13. Managing Member

For LLC businesses, owners are technically members. But to convey that you’re the one who’s actually in charge of decisions related to the business, a managing member can be just a bit more specific.

Blog You Should Read – Great Small Business Magazines Every Entrepreneur Should Read In 2019-20

14. Managing Partner

If you want to convey that you are the one making your company’s major decisions and not just taking a back seat to your business operations, then you can use the term “managing partner”.

This term implies that you have the status of an owner but also clue people in on your actual responsibilities. For some owners, however, this term might sound too much like legalese.

15. Administrator

If you are running the day-to-day operations of your small business and that requires a lot of business management work, you might choose to give yourself the title of the administrator. This title is descriptive of your work while still stating that you have authority over the business.

16. CXO

If you do not want to consider yourself a CEO material but want the status of a business owner with a C-level title, then consider creating your own. You can desire to be the chief of anything within your company. Here are some of the following creative examples we are aware of.

  • Chief Accountant
  • Plumber
  • Executive Philosopher
  • Chief Disrupter

17. Non-Prestigious, Descriptive Titles

However, if none of these conventional business position titles feel right for your personality or the role you play within your company, you can get a little creative. Rather than choosing an established title, just make and create your own.

Feel free to choose a title that downplays the prestige of your role as a business owner, if that feels uncomfortable to you, while also being descriptive of what you do.

This strategy is particularly useful in creating a team-oriented culture that is important to how your business runs. Choosing a business title that removes the sense of hierarchy from your ranks will help everyone focus on doing whatever it takes to get the job done, without getting stopped up by intimidation or fear.

18. Abstract or Creative Titles

If you are a part of the creative industry, you can take lots of licenses with your small business owner title. You might craft something that is even a little abstract from others. As long as you think it fits what you do and the personality of your business, the sky is the limit.

How to Pick Your Business Owner Title

Opting your small business owner title is a very personal decision. Some business owners are happy to go with a traditional and conventional title that makes clear their status as an owner, while others are more interested in a creative HR title or descriptive title. You can be the owner of a small business, but the word “owner” may not truly describe the role you play in your company or business.

These are all the concerns which you must have to take into account when choosing your small business owner title. Obey these tips to pick the right and suitable job title for you.

(a) Keep Your Business Title Simple

As with many creative pursuits, it is easy to overthink your job title. You can spend too much time thinking of all the “what ifs” and waiting for the “right” option to present itself to you. The brainstorming phase can drag on with the persistent idea that there is always something better just around the corner.

Do not get stuck in the brainstorming phase. Your title is important. And you can print business cards and put your job title on your business website, but you can always change your mind if you find something that better fits your role.

We are not recommending that you jump into your business title without some thought, but do not let yourself get so wrapped up in choosing the perfect title that you neglect your other, vital tasks! Get a title of your desire, commit to a decision and move forward with running your business.

(b) Examine Internally and Externally

One significant consideration when choosing the right small business owner job title is how your title will be perceived, both by your employees and to those outside your organization, including your customers or clients. Start with how your title will be understood internally.

Each title comes with a dictionary definition and then the connotation, or how it is perceived and some titles bring about a lot of inherent assumptions.

For example, giving yourself the title of “owner” can make your employees assume and think that you have no internal management role within the company, as an owner is often perceived as someone who finances a company but does not get their hands dirty on a daily basis.

Your title should also be understandable to your customers, or anyone who does not have intimate knowledge of your business or industry. Business owner titles that are very technical in nature or overly creative can leave friends, family, and acquaintances at a loss when trying to understand what you do.

These are the very people who may be your best source of networking and client referrals, so you should be able to introduce yourself in a way that is actually meaningful to the person you are speaking to.

Blog You Should Read – Business Quotes That Will Inspire You Through The Toughest Days

(c) Consider Subtleties in Meaning

There has always been a myth around the idea that each job title conveys meaning and has, for lack of a better term, a personality. For instance, we all innately understand that a CEO is not the same thing as an owner. The titles “CEO” and “owner” might be interchangeable in meaning, but they denote different stature, as well as levels of involvement within the organization.

For example, when someone introduces himself/herself as the CEO of a company, our minds conjure images of skyscrapers, powerful businessmen/businesswomen, expensive suits and million-dollar corporations. Thus, if you are the owner of a small marketing agency, calling yourself a CEO might put the wrong picture into someone’s head.

How we perceive job titles differ from person to person, but it is important to survey others and get a pulse on how certain business position titles will be viewed across the board. If you are looking to come off as more powerful or confident than you feel, the CEO might be the perfect title. If you would like to be a team player or benevolent leader, you might opt for a friendlier title.

In the end, your title should first and foremost feel right to you, so let your own personality and preferences play a role in which title you choose. If you do not feel comfortable with your business owner’s title, you are going to feel awkward or even avoid using it when introducing yourself to others. Make sure that the title you choose fits you and that you will be comfortable saying it aloud in a variety of settings.

(d) Make Sure Your Title Aligns With Your Company Culture

Although your own opinion of your title is important, your title should not be solely dependent upon personal preference, you also need to think about how your job title suits your company culture. As your small business owner’s leader, it is likely that you have set the company culture. You will innately know whether the title you like fits that environment.

For example, if you are the owner of a newer company within a creative industry, you might want to choose a creative or descriptive business title and CEO simply might not jibe if you are operating a cutting-edge social media or technology company.

On the other hand, if you have started a high-level business consulting practice, the CEO might convey the correct and right amount of gravitas.

(e) Ask for Opinions

Once you have found a few titles that you think fit your personality and your business’ personality, it is time to ask for some feedback. Ask your friends, trusted advisors, and employees for their take on your final contenders.

That said, be selective about who and how many individuals you ask, as too much feedback can be just as detrimental as too little. You want a range of viewpoints from sensible individuals both inside and outside your industry, who will factor in your personality, business management style and the internal culture of your company in their deliberations. Avoid contrarians who will undercut your line of thinking and send you back to the brainstorming phase all over again.

Bottom Line – Choose the Best Business Owner Title That Suits You and Your Business

Although it is easy to think that the owner, CEO, principal and partner are all interchangeable, the truth is that your job title says a lot about your business, as well as you personally.

Most business titles come with specific dictionary definitions as well as an underlying emotional or reputational connotation. Telling someone you are the CEO of a company gives them a different understanding of your small business than simply calling yourself the owner.

The small business owner job title that you choose should fit your personality and the culture of your company, while also making clear to customers and clients your relationship to the business.

Related post

Leave A Comment