When it comes to business titles, entrepreneurs have the liberty to choose from a range of designations to tail after their name. A business title not only informs people about the position you hold in your business but also says something about you and your business as well.
What’s in a title?
You may think that a business title is not a big deal. However, that can’t be farther from the truth. Your business title gives off an impression of how you relate to your customers, your employees, and your business itself.
For example, the title CEO may have a grand ring to it, but it could be too lofty and too formal for your small business. Similarly, other business names or titles will have their own effect and impression of you. Pro tip: You could try a business name generator to come up with a distinct business name that makes your title more impactful.
For short, your title will reflect how people will see you as an entrepreneur and will somewhat give them an idea as to how involved you are and the kind of position you take on within your business.
Popular business titles
Here are some of the most popular business titles used by business owners:
Simple, straightforward, and no-fuss, labeling yourself as the “owner” eliminates all the confusion about who you are within the business. The term owner implies someone who financially owns the company.
Owners of small businesses are usually more comfortable with this particular business title as it does not come with any implied assumptions about the company. It simply conveys that the business belongs to you.
When you think of the title “CEO,” you usually imagine tailored suits and penthouse offices. CEO is a title for a position that implies not only ownership but also power. That is why multinational corporations with hundreds of employees usually have a CEO at the top of the chain.
If you are a small business catering to a small and rural community, this title might be too lofty and intimidating for both your clients and your employees. However, if you want to exude power and formality in a business that has an executive-level vision, this title is the perfect one for you.
Founders usually own and spearhead tech companies. The title implies that you actually started something or revolutionized an existing product, service, or system. Founders are basically not just the money but also the brains behind the business and its product.
This business title is specially reserved for business owners who started the company. If you purchased an already existing company or acquired shares, the term “founder” might not apply to you.
The proprietor is synonymous with the owner, except that it has a more formal and official ring to it. It is actually an older term for the title of “owner” for a business. It is well-fitting for startups or small business owners who are right up in the alley of “owner” but want something more elegant.
Similar to CEO, the term President also exudes power and authority. As with the title of CEO, you need to make sure that the power that comes with the title also translates into the kind of organization you have within your business.
Additionally, you will have to review the organizational structure of your business if you do choose this particular business title. You need to think ahead whether you plan to have a Vice President ranked beneath you, and so on.
Director is a safe title that goes somewhere between owner and CEO in terms of position and power. What’s great about having “Director” as a business title is that you have all the liberty to customize it. You can basically become the Director of anything within your company. You can be the Director of Operations, Administrative Director, Director of Accounts, Managing Director, Creative Director, or even just plainly Director. The possibilities are endless.
Small consulting agencies and similar businesses usually have a Principal at the head of the organization. The title might not appeal to many, though, as it somewhat sounds like a school headmaster position more than a business owner.
Choosing the right business title
As you can see above, although all of the choices are free to pick, they each connote a different meaning or sentiment to the entrepreneur. It reflects what type of owner you are and the exact role that you take within your own company. Therefore, it is important to carefully choose the right business title that appropriately translates to who you are as a business owner.
Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication
Some entrepreneurs, especially those in the creative industry, may opt for something grand, extravagant, and memorable for a title. There is absolutely nothing wrong with going this route. However, if you are a humble startup the simpler option may be the better one.
Having a simple and straightforward business title gives you class and enough legroom to evolve along with your growing company. Besides, having a simple business title will eliminate the awkwardness of having to explain the title to a confused prospect at a networking event.
Reflect on how the title is perceived
How will people see you with the particular title you chose? Are you going to exude enough authority to command respect within the organization? Or is it too intimidating that your employees will find you too aloof and unapproachable? Does your title encourage enough trust from your potential clients and customers?
Consequently, will your title foster teamwork and trust within the organization? Will it encourage your people to open up to you and share ideas that can boost the company? Does it make you a cool and modern entrepreneur who is connected enough to roll up your sleeves and work at the grassroots level?
Your title has the power to influence how people from within and outside your business perceive you.
Make sure that it reflects your company values
Not only does your business title reflect you as an entrepreneur, but also your company as a business. A business that has a CEO as a head and a business with a Founder as a leader will perceivably be very different companies. Not only will your business title have to match you and your role, but also the nature of your company.
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