21 Business Owner Titles: Which One is Right for You?

business owner titles

Choosing the right business title is crucial for any small business owner as it not only reflects your role in the company but also affects how others perceive you and your business. To help you find the perfect job title that accurately represents your role, we’ve put together 21 small business owner title options. Let’s dive in!

What is a Business Owner Title?

A business owner title is the official designation given to a person who owns a business. Business position titles reflect their role and responsibilities within the organization and communicate their position to others. A title can range from the standard CEO (chief executive officer) to a more creative business owner title.

Why Choosing the Right Job Title is Essential for Small Business Owners

Selecting appropriate job titles is a vital decision for small business owners. It can affect their company’s image and how they interact with customers, business partners, and employees.

Business Structure

The job title should reflect the business’s structure and the owner’s role in it. An LLC or sole proprietor may choose a different title than a CEO of a corporation.

Business Strategy

The job title can align with the business’s growth and expansion plans. A visionary CEO may prefer a more strategic title, while a hands-on owner may choose a more operational title.

Limited Liability Companies

The job title of an LLC owner can vary, depending on how the company is managed. Members of an LLC can choose to be managers, members, or both.

Ensuring The Business Title Aligns with The Company’s Goals

business owner titles

The job title should reflect the company’s mission and values. For example, a social entrepreneur may prefer a title that highlights their commitment to social or environmental impact.

Day-to-Day Operations

The job title should accurately reflect the owner’s role in the day-to-day operations of the business. A hands-on owner may choose a more operational title such as chief operating officer, while a delegator may opt for a more strategic title.

21 Titles for Small Business Owners

When starting a small business, choosing the right title can help establish authority and credibility. Here are 21 common titles for small business owners:

1. CEO Title

The CEO title is not just a position but a symbol of leadership and strategic vision in an organization. As the chief executive officer, the individual in this role is responsible for setting the company’s strategic direction, shaping its culture, and driving growth.

They are the face of the company, often representing it in public, media, and industry events. CEOs need to possess a deep understanding of their industry, exhibit strong leadership qualities, and have the ability to make decisions that balance short-term challenges with long-term objectives.

Their role is pivotal in steering the company through challenges and capitalizing on opportunities, ultimately influencing its success in the competitive business landscape.

2. Managing Director

A managing director is pivotal in translating a company’s vision into actionable strategies. This role involves not only overseeing day-to-day operations but also playing a key part in strategic planning and decision-making processes.

They are often the bridge between the board and the operational side of the business, ensuring that company policies and strategies are effectively implemented. In many cases, managing directors are involved in key aspects such as business development, marketing, and client relations.

Their leadership is crucial in nurturing a positive corporate culture, inspiring teams, and driving the company towards its goals, making them indispensable in both small enterprises and large corporations.

3. Chief Financial Officer

The CFO plays a vital role in shaping the financial strategy of a company. They are not only responsible for financial planning and record-keeping but also play a crucial role in risk management, investment decisions, and funding strategies.

The CFO’s insights are invaluable in mergers and acquisitions, financial forecasting, and navigating economic uncertainties. They must possess a robust understanding of financial regulations and ensure the company’s compliance.

The CFO’s strategic input helps in driving operational efficiency, profitability, and long-term financial health, making them a key architect of the company’s financial future.

business owner titles

4. Chief Operating Officer

The COO, as a cornerstone of the executive team, plays a vital role in implementing and refining operational processes. Their responsibilities extend beyond managing day-to-day operations to include developing operational strategies that enhance productivity and efficiency.

The COO often works closely with the CEO to align operational goals with the company’s broader strategic objectives. They are pivotal in managing change, driving innovation in operational practices, and ensuring that the company adapts effectively to market shifts and evolving business environments.

Their leadership is instrumental in fostering a culture of continuous improvement and operational excellence within the organization.

5. Managing Partner

The role of a managing partner extends beyond day-to-day management to encompass strategic leadership and decision-making in partnership-based business structures. They play a critical role in developing business strategies, steering the company towards growth, and ensuring financial health.

As the primary liaison among partners, they must maintain transparent communication and uphold the interests of all partners. Their responsibilities often include managing external relationships, representing the company in legal matters, and overseeing significant business transactions.

The managing partner’s ability to balance strategic vision with effective operational management is key to the success and sustainability of the partnership.

6. Technical Director

The Technical Director holds a pivotal role in shaping the technological landscape of an organization. This position involves not only managing but also innovating in the realms of research and development.

The Technical Director is at the forefront of integrating emerging technologies and ensuring that engineering and IT operations align with the company’s strategic goals.

They play a critical role in decision-making processes related to technology investments and are instrumental in driving technological advancements within the organization.

Their expertise is crucial in maintaining the company’s technological edge, ensuring it stays abreast of or ahead of industry trends and competitors.

7. Creative Director

A Creative Director is the driving force behind the creative and aesthetic vision of a company. This role involves steering the creative processes for branding, advertising campaigns, and overall design elements.

They lead a team of creative professionals, inspiring and guiding them to produce compelling, innovative work that resonates with the target audience.

The Creative Director plays a key role in translating business objectives into creative strategies, ensuring that all visual and conceptual aspects of marketing and advertising align with the company’s brand identity.

Their unique blend of creativity and strategic thinking is essential in differentiating the company in a crowded marketplace.

8. Director of Operations

As the Director of Operations, this executive is pivotal in ensuring operational excellence across the company. Their role encompasses a broad spectrum of responsibilities, from overseeing production processes to managing logistics and ensuring top-notch customer service.

They are tasked with identifying and implementing operational improvements, streamlining processes, and optimizing resource utilization. Their strategic planning and leadership are crucial in enhancing operational efficiency, reducing costs, and maximizing productivity.

The Director of Operations also plays a key role in crisis management and contingency planning, ensuring the company can effectively navigate operational challenges.

9. Chief Marketing Officer

The CMO is integral to a company’s brand and market presence. Responsible for crafting innovative marketing strategies, they lead efforts in brand promotion, customer engagement, and market penetration.

The CMO is deeply involved in understanding customer behaviors and market trends, using insights to drive marketing decisions. This role often requires a blend of creativity and analytical skills, as the CMO orchestrates various marketing channels and campaigns.

Their leadership is essential in building brand loyalty, creating effective communication strategies, and driving the company’s growth through targeted marketing initiatives.

10. Chief Technology Officer

As the Chief Technology Officer, this executive plays a critical role in setting the technological agenda of the company. They are responsible for developing and implementing a technology vision that aligns with and supports the company’s strategic objectives.

The CTO oversees the development and deployment of new technologies, ensuring they meet the current and future needs of the business. They are the key driver of technological innovation, identifying opportunities to leverage technology for competitive advantage.

The CTO also plays a crucial role in technology risk management, cybersecurity, and ensuring the scalability and reliability of the company’s technology infrastructure.

business owner titles

11. Founder

The Founder of a company is the visionary who brings the business into existence. This role often extends beyond the initial creation phase, involving deep involvement in shaping the company’s culture, values, and long-term strategy.

Founders usually maintain a strong emotional connection to the business and its mission, embodying the entrepreneurial spirit. Their insights and experience are invaluable in guiding the company through growth phases and market changes.

The Founder’s role is often seen as a blend of leadership, innovation, and passion, crucial in establishing and nurturing the company’s identity and legacy.

12. Owner

An Owner holds the reins of the business, possessing legal and financial control. This role encompasses more than just ownership; it requires active involvement in shaping the company’s vision, strategies, and goals.

Owners typically invest not just financially but also emotionally in the success of their business. They are involved in high-level decision-making processes and often play a key role in developing and maintaining important business relationships.

As the ultimate decision-maker, the Owner’s responsibilities include managing financial risks, strategic planning, and ensuring the company adapts and evolves in a dynamic business environment.

13. Principal

The Principal of a business unit or department is a senior-level executive charged with overseeing its specific operations and performance. They are responsible for strategic planning, managing resources, and driving success in their area of expertise.

Principals play a crucial role in aligning their department’s goals with the broader objectives of the company. They are often key decision-makers, involved in setting policies, managing teams, and driving innovation within their domain.

Their leadership is instrumental in fostering growth, efficiency, and effectiveness in their specific business area.

14. Proprietor

A Proprietor is the sole owner and operator of a business, often found in small enterprises. This role requires juggling multiple aspects of the business, from strategic planning to daily operations.

Proprietors make all critical business decisions, often working hands-on in various roles within the business. They are responsible for the financial health of the enterprise, customer relations, and managing any staff.

Being a Proprietor demands flexibility, a wide range of skills, and a deep understanding of the business’s niche. The success of the business is directly linked to the Proprietor’s dedication, decision-making, and management skills.

15. President

The President of a company plays a crucial role in guiding the organization’s operations and strategic direction. This executive is often second-in-command after the CEO and is involved in key decision-making processes.

The President oversees the implementation of corporate strategies, manages company resources, and ensures operational goals are met. They collaborate closely with other C-level executives and the board of directors, playing a critical role in shaping the company’s future.

Their leadership is vital in driving business growth, maintaining operational excellence, and ensuring the company’s objectives align with its vision and values.

16. Vice President

A Vice President is a senior executive responsible for a specific division or function within the company. They play a vital role in strategic planning, decision-making, and managing their respective areas.

Vice Presidents are instrumental in driving the success of their departments, ensuring alignment with the company’s overall goals.

They often handle high-level responsibilities, including developing strategies, managing teams, and overseeing large projects or initiatives. Their leadership and expertise are key in driving innovation, efficiency, and profitability within their domain.

17. General Manager

The General Manager is tasked with the comprehensive management of the company’s operations. This role involves overseeing day-to-day activities, implementing business strategies, and ensuring that the company’s objectives are met.

The General Manager is often responsible for budget management, staff supervision, and operational decision-making. Their leadership is key in maintaining operational efficiency, achieving financial goals, and ensuring customer satisfaction.

The success of the business heavily relies on the General Manager’s ability to effectively manage resources and navigate challenges.

18. Business Development Manager

A Business Development Manager is focused on driving growth and expansion for the company. This role involves identifying new business opportunities, developing relationships with potential clients or partners, and exploring new markets.

Business Development Managers are key players in strategic planning, market analysis, and sales strategy execution. They work closely with marketing, sales, and product development teams to ensure coordinated efforts in business expansion.

Their expertise is crucial in increasing revenue streams, enhancing market presence, and achieving long-term business success.

19. Human Resources Manager

The Human Resources Manager plays a pivotal role in managing the company’s most valuable asset – its people. This position involves overseeing recruitment, training, employee relations, and compliance with labor laws.

Human Resources Managers are instrumental in shaping the company culture, developing talent, and ensuring a productive and positive work environment. They handle sensitive issues like conflict resolution, performance management, and employee benefits.

Their strategic approach to human resources management is crucial for employee satisfaction, retention, and overall organizational success.

20. Sales Manager

A Sales Manager is responsible for leading and guiding the sales team towards achieving revenue targets. This role involves developing sales strategies, setting sales goals, and managing the sales process.

Sales Managers play a crucial role in training and motivating the sales team, analyzing sales data, and identifying market trends. They are often involved in key account management, customer relationship building, and negotiating deals.

Their leadership is essential in driving sales performance, expanding the customer base, and contributing significantly to the company’s profitability.

21. Project Manager

The Project Manager is essential in steering projects from conception through completion, ensuring they align with the company’s strategic goals. This role involves meticulous planning, resource management, and coordination among various teams and stakeholders.

Project Managers are responsible for setting timelines, defining project scopes, and managing budgets. They play a critical role in problem-solving, risk management, and maintaining communication channels throughout the project lifecycle.

Their ability to adapt to changing circumstances and ensure project deliverables meet quality standards is crucial. The success of a project heavily depends on the Project Manager’s leadership, organizational skills, and capacity to motivate and guide their team toward timely and successful project completion.

Tips for Choosing the Right Business Owner Title

business owner titles

Selecting the right business owner title is crucial for your business’s identity. Consider your role and responsibilities, align the title with the image you want to portray and ensure it accommodates future growth. Seek feedback from others, keep it simple and clear, and research industry norms. Emphasize your strengths, consult with partners, and reevaluate periodically to maintain alignment with your evolving business. Your title is not just a formality; it plays a vital role in setting the right tone and showcasing your expertise.

  • Consider Your Role: Think about your primary responsibilities and the role you play in the company’s operations to find a title that accurately represents your position.
  • Reflect the Business Image: The title you choose should align with the image you want to portray for your business. It should communicate your authority and expertise.
  • Think About Growth: If you have plans for future expansion or hiring, consider a title that can accommodate the company’s growth.
  • Seek Feedback: Get input from your team, mentors, or advisors to ensure the title you select resonates well with others and reflects your role effectively.
  • Keep It Simple: Avoid overly complicated or creative titles that may confuse others or make it challenging to understand your role.
  • Be Transparent: Choose a title that clarifies your position within the organization to avoid misunderstandings.
  • Research Industry Norms: Look into common job titles in your industry to ensure that your chosen title aligns with industry standards.
  • Emphasize Your Strengths: If you excel in a particular area of expertise, consider a title that highlights your key strengths and contributions.
  • Legal Considerations: If you have partners or shareholders, consult with them before finalizing your title to ensure alignment and agreement.
  • Reevaluate Periodically: As your business evolves, reassess your title to ensure that it continues to reflect your responsibilities and contributions.
Tips for Choosing the Right Business Owner Title
1. Consider Your Role
2. Reflect the Business Image
3. Think About Growth
4. Seek Feedback
5. Keep It Simple
6. Be Transparent
7. Research Industry Norms
8. Emphasize Your Strengths
9. Legal Considerations
10. Reevaluate Periodically

Remember that your business owner title is not just a formality; it is an essential aspect of your business identity. Take the time to choose a title that aligns with your role, showcases your strengths, and sets the right tone for your business.

The Importance of Effective Communication for Small Business Owners

Effective communication is the lifeblood of any successful small business. It underpins relationships with customers, employees, suppliers, and other stakeholders. Without clear and efficient communication, businesses can encounter misunderstandings, inefficiencies, and even failure. In this section, we will explore the vital role of effective communication for small business owners and provide practical tips on how to enhance communication within your organization.

Why Effective Communication Matters for Small Business Owners

  1. Building Trust: Clear and transparent communication builds trust with your customers, employees, and partners. When people trust your business, they are more likely to engage with it.
  2. Employee Engagement: Engaged employees are more productive and committed. Open lines of communication foster a sense of belonging and encourage employees to contribute their ideas and insights.
  3. Customer Satisfaction: Understanding your customers’ needs and concerns through effective communication allows you to tailor your products or services to meet their expectations, resulting in higher customer satisfaction and loyalty.
  4. Conflict Resolution: Conflicts are inevitable in any organization. Effective communication helps address conflicts promptly and constructively, preventing them from escalating into larger issues.
  5. Efficiency and Productivity: Clear communication streamlines processes and reduces misunderstandings, leading to greater efficiency and productivity within your business.
  6. Innovation: Encouraging open dialogue and idea-sharing among your team can lead to innovative solutions and opportunities for growth.

Practical Tips for Enhancing Communication in Your Small Business

  1. Establish Clear Communication Channels: Determine the most effective channels for communication within your organization. This could include team meetings, emails, project management tools, or instant messaging platforms.
  2. Active Listening: Encourage active listening among your employees. This means truly hearing what others are saying, asking clarifying questions, and showing empathy.
  3. Set Expectations: Clearly define roles and responsibilities within your organization. Ensure that every team member knows what is expected of them and how their role contributes to the business’s success.
  4. Regular Updates: Keep your team informed about company developments, changes, and goals through regular updates. Consistency in communication is key.
  5. Feedback Loops: Establish feedback mechanisms for employees to share their ideas, concerns, and feedback. Act on this feedback to demonstrate that you value their input.
  6. Conflict Resolution: Develop a process for addressing conflicts and disputes constructively. Ensure that employees feel safe and supported when raising concerns.
  7. Training: Invest in communication skills training for your team. Effective communication is a skill that can be developed and honed over time.
  8. Lead by Example: As a business owner, your communication sets the tone for your organization. Demonstrate open, respectful, and transparent communication in your interactions.
  9. Embrace Technology: Leverage communication technologies and tools that facilitate collaboration, such as video conferencing, project management software, and customer relationship management systems.
  10. Document Key Information: Important information, decisions, and agreements should be documented. This helps prevent misunderstandings and provides a reference point for future discussions.
  11. Crisis Communication Plan: Develop a crisis communication plan to guide your response in times of unforeseen challenges. Being prepared minimizes potential damage to your business’s reputation.
  12. Celebrate Achievements: Recognize and celebrate achievements, milestones, and successes with your team. Positive reinforcement encourages continued communication and collaboration.

The Bottom Line

Choosing the right business owner title is an important decision that can impact your company’s success.

By understanding the different options available when researching how to start a business and considering your own skills and preferences, you can select the title that best aligns with your goals and responsibilities.

Remember that starting a business requires much more than just picking a title, so be sure to also brush up on important meeting tips and other aspects of entrepreneurship to set yourself up for success.

Business Owner Title FAQs

Does a Business Owner Need to Have a Title?

A business owner does not necessarily need to have a formal title, but having one can help establish authority and credibility. Common titles for business owners include CEO, founder, president, or owner.

What is a Good Title For a Business Owner?

A good title for a business owner depends on the industry and size of the company. CEO, founder, president, and owner are common titles. Other options include managing director, principal, or proprietor.

What is The Best Title for Owner of an LLC?

The best title for the owner of an LLC is often “owner” or “member.” Other options include managing members or the CEO, depending on the size and structure of the company.

Should My Business Title be Owner or CEO?

Whether a business title should be owner or CEO depends on the size and structure of the company. If there are multiple owners, CEO may be a more appropriate title. Otherwise, owner is a common and simple title.

What Small Business Owner Titles are The Best?

Small business owner titles vary depending on the size and structure of the company. Depending on the business, titles include everything from CMO to CEO. Some business owners may even choose between titles like CEO or entrepreneur. As the company grows, titles like president or managing director may be added.

Should I Put Owner or CEO on a Business Card?

The title on a business card should accurately reflect the person’s role in the company. Owner is appropriate for a sole proprietorship or small business, while CEO may be more suitable for a larger company with multiple executives.

Image: Envato Elements

Kevin Ocasio Kevin Ocasio is a staff writer for Small Business Trends and has been with the team for 2 years. He holds certifications in SEO, digital marketing, and content marketing. Kevin is also certified in Information Technology Technical Support Fundamentals.