Top Professional Titles for Business Owners
When you're a small company owner, it's natural to feel overwhelmed by the number of alternatives available—or to believe that your only possibilities for business owner titles are "owner" or "CEO."
Small business owners' titles should be congruent with the company's aims and objectives while still seeming personal. You're the boss of your small firm, but you also wear a lot of other hats, and your company name should reflect that.
When determining whether a small company owner title is suitable for you, we've put up some basic steps to follow. Then, read through it to see whether one of the titles you like is on our list of both standard and creative titles.
Consider the following business titles for small business owners.
There are so many options for small company owners that we couldn't possibly list them all when it comes to job titles.
Check out a handful of these titles to see if any of them fit your personality, and then give it a try at a networking event by introducing yourself using those titles. You'll quickly determine which ones feel right and which ones don't.
1. Chief Executive Officer
The title of chief executive officer, or CEO, is a frequent one in the corporate sector, and it makes it clear that you're in control. CEO may be the ideal title for you if you want to imply that your firm is well-established or has a large team of personnel.
If you're a solopreneur, on the other hand, the name CEO may have a stuffy connotation that doesn't represent your firm or your function within it.
Many individuals perceive "president" and "CEO" to be synonymous. This title, once again, implies authority, so it's an option worth considering if you want to give your company the gravity of a more giant corporation. Consider your formal business entity and how you want to organize the titles of further hiring as your firm expands when deciding between president and CEO.
The title of "owner" is a simple method to designate who retains financial ownership of your firm for small business owners who haven't filed organizational forms as a partnership or corporation. Although "owner" has less clout than president or CEO, it may be appropriate if you're the single proprietor of a small firm with few or no staff, such as an LLC or sole proprietorship.
There is a second alternative if you believe your small business function fulfills the owner's description, but the title doesn't feel quite right. "Proprietor" is an older term for a small company owner, and it's commonplace in tiny, main-street-style retail establishments.
In recent years, the term "founder" has gained favor among organizations, notably in the software industry, that starts small and is highly hands-on yet develops quickly. Calling yourself a "founder" signals to your first workers that you want to bootstrap your development and be heavily involved in day-to-day operations, all of which may boost camaraderie and collaboration between you and your team.
Keep in mind that a founder gets defined as the person who created or founded the company therefore if you bought an existing company or bought stock in one, you won't be considered a founder.
If you want something a bit more formal than owner but don't think you're ready for CEO, the principal title can be a good fit. Principal is a typical small company owner title, particularly for proprietors of small agencies or consulting organizations, and it may stir up memories of middle school detention.
7. X-Director or X-Director of X-Director of X-Director of
Do you prefer a business job title that provides you ownership rights but is more descriptive of your everyday function in the company? Consider a title with the word "director" in it, such as:
- Director of operations
- Director of technical services
- Director of operations
- Creative director
Managing Member or Managing Partner is a term used to describe someone who is in charge of a company.
You can use the phrases "managing member" or "managing partner" to show that you're in charge of your company's essential choices rather than merely being a spectator to your business operations. Both of these titles suggest that you are an owner, but they also inform others about your fundamental obligations. However, these phrases may appear to be legalese for some business owners.
8. Administrator (nine)
If you're in charge of your small firm's day-to-day operations and need to do a lot of business management, you might want to assign yourself the title of the administrator. This title is descriptive of your work and assertive of your control over the company.
9. CXO (chief executive officer)
Consider starting your own if you don't consider yourself CEO material but desire the prestige of a business owner with a C-level designation. You have the option of becoming the CEO of any department inside your corporation.
Here are a few of the most inventive ideas we've come across:
- Accountant in charge
- Plumber in charge
- Philosophical chief executive
- Disruptor in Chief
11. Descriptive, non-prestigious titles
You may get a bit creative if none of these traditional business position titles feel suitable for your personality or the function you perform inside your firm. Rather than using a pre-existing title, come up with your own. If it makes you uncomfortable, use a title that downplays the importance of your function as a business owner while still being descriptive of what you do.
This method is especially effective if fostering a collaborative culture is critical to your company's success. Choosing a corporate title that removes the idea of hierarchy from your ranks will allow everyone to focus on doing whatever it takes to get the work done without being hindered by fear or intimidation.
12. Titles with a sense of humor or ingenuity
If you work in the creative profession, your small company owner title gives you a lot of flexibility. You might even come up with something amusing. The sky's the limit as long as you think it matches what you do and your company's identity.
How to Choose the Right Small Business Owner Title
Choosing a title for your small business is a very personal decision. Some business owners choose a standard title that clearly states their ownership position, while others prefer a creative HR term or a descriptive title. Although you may be a small business owner, the term "owner" may not accurately represent your function inside the organization.
These considerations must get examined while deciding on a small company owner title. Use these guidelines to help you choose the best job title for you.
1. Make it easy on yourself.
It's easy to overthink your job title, as it is with many creative endeavors. You can waste too much time pondering all of the "what ifs" and hoping for the "correct" answer to appear. The brainstorming period might stretch on with the continual feeling that something better is just around the bend.
Don't get bogged down in the brainstorming process. Your position is significant, but it isn't fixed in stone. Yes, you can print business cards and list your job title on your website, but you can permanently alter your mind if something better matches your function.
We're not suggesting that you leap into your company title without giving it some thought—but don't get so caught up in finding the right title that you overlook other, more critical duties! Find a title you like, decide, and go to work operating your company.
2. Conduct an internal and external examination.
When picking the correct small business owner job title, keep in mind how your title will be seen by your staff and people outside your company, such as your customers or clients.
Let's start with how your title will get interpreted within your company. Each title has a dictionary meaning followed by its connotation, or how it is perceived—and some titles include a lot of implicit assumptions.
Giving oneself the title of "owner," for example, may encourage your staff to believe that you have no internal management responsibilities since an owner is commonly seen as someone who funds a business but does not get their hands dirty daily.
Your title should also be apparent to consumers and those who are unfamiliar with your firm or sector. When it comes to business owner titles that are highly technical or creative, friends, family, and acquaintances may be at a loss to grasp what you do. You should be able to introduce yourself in a significant way to the person you're speaking with since these are the people who may be your best source of networking and client recommendations.
3. Consider meaning's subtleties.
We've gone back and forth on whether each job title has significance and, for want of a better description, a personality. For example, we all recognize that a CEO is not the same as a business owner. Although the terms "CEO" and "owner" have the same meaning, they signify various status levels and engagement inside the firm.
Our thoughts construct pictures of skyscrapers, influential people, costly suits, and multimillion-dollar businesses when someone presents herself as the CEO of a firm. If you operate a small marketing business, calling yourself a CEO could conjure up the incorrect image in someone's mind.
Although our perceptions of job titles fluctuate from person to person, it's critical to poll people to understand how specific company position titles will get perceived across the board. You may choose a friendlier title if you want to get seen as a team player or benign leader. CEO might be the ideal title if you're going to appear strong or more confident than you are.
Finally, your title should feel appropriate to you, so let your personality and preferences guide your decision. Make sure the title you pick is a good match for you and that you'll be able to utter it out loud in a range of situations. You'll feel embarrassed or avoid using your business owner title when presenting yourself to people if you don't feel comfortable with it.
4. Double-check that your title corresponds to your company's culture.
Although your personal view of your title is crucial, you should also consider how your job title fits into your firm's culture. As the owner of a small firm, you've probably established the corporate culture. You'll instinctively know if the title you like is appropriate for the situation.
Suppose you're the owner of a newer company in the creative field, for example. In that case, you might want to go with a creative or descriptive business name—and CEO might not be appropriate if you're running a cutting-edge social media or technological firm. On the other hand, if you're starting a high-level business consulting firm, the CEO may be the perfect name for you.
5. Get people's opinions
It's time to get some input once you've identified a few titles that you think reflect your personality and the personality of your company. Inquire about your final candidates with your pals, trustworthy advisers, and coworkers.
You'll want a variety of perspectives from both inside and outside your sector, people who will consider your personality, business management style, and corporate culture when making their decisions. However, be judicious in who you ask and how many people you ask since too much or too little input can be harmful. Avoid opportunists who will undermine your point of view and send you back to the brainstorming stage.
What is the best title for a business owner?
CEO, president, and owner are the best small business owner titles to use.
What is my title if I own my own business?
If you own your own business, your business title is up to you. Managing director, technical director, or the founder title are all applicable.
Our favorite resources are included below.
Job interview resources
- Common Interview Questions by Marquette University
- Prepare for Behavioral Interview Questions by Marquette University
- Preparing for Job Interviews by the University of Kansas
- Mock Interview Handbook by CSUCI
- Interview Guidebook by Lebanon Valley College
Resume and cover letter resources
- Writing a Resume and Cover Letter by USC
- Resume Writing Tips by the University of Wisconsin-Madison
- Resume and Cover Letter Guide by Harvard University
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