Traditional and Creative Business Owner Titles

When starting out, business owners are in charge of every detail needed to establish their company. That means a lot of forms to fill out and emails to send. What title will you use to identify yourself as the head of your enterprise? The name you settle on is important. Here are some creative business owner titles along with traditional ones to consider when crafting yours.

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Factors to think about

Choosing your small business owner title is a very personal decision. Some are happy to go with a traditional title that makes their status clear, while others are more interested in an outside-of-the-box descriptive title. You may be the owner of a small business, but the word “owner” may not truly describe the role you fulfill within the company. Here are guidelines to help you decide.

Keep it simple

Grand Poobah of Operations, People Experience, and Sales may sound creative and describe some of your duties but does it make sense? When people come across your title, is it easy to understand and appropriately descriptive?

Think about the first impression

“In Charge of Everything” or “Chief of Getting Sh#% Done” are clever choices but do those titles convey the professionalism needed to promote your business? And how will your title look on correspondence you send to customers, partners, or potential investors? Before you print business cards or introduce your title on your website, consider how it will be perceived by both internal employees and outside contacts. Your team may not appreciate a title that implies your business is a one man show.

Consider your company culture and employee titles

Business titles communicate your status and company culture to not only consumers but to competitors and job seekers. Your title won’t just matter externally but can shape the titles you give your team. You’ll want to convey how your business is structured and give employees an idea of their job responsibilities and purpose.

Traditional titles

Here are a list of traditional titles common in corporate America that could work for you.

1. CEO

Chief Executive Officer is the highest-ranking person in a company, ultimately responsible for making managerial decisions. It’s likely that the CEO is the owner but the owner can give the CEO title to an employee or investor.

2. Owner

Owner is a generic term for sole proprietorship. You might think it’s boring but it clearly tells the world that you launched and are running your own business.

3. Chief X: (of staff, landscaper, brand officer, people officer, etc.)

Chief indicates the specific skills and responsibilities of the owner.

4. Founder

A founder of a business brings that enterprise into existence, gets it off the ground, and secures the funds and materials needed to succeed.

5. Managing Member or Managing Partner

The managing partner or managing member has an ownership interest in an LLC and is in charge of all primary management duties.

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6. Creative Director

A creative director position is typically used for design, film, music, video game, fashion, advertising, media, or other entertainment industries. It can also be used for other creative businesses like web and software development firms.

7. Administrator

An administrator title reflects the person who organizes and provides support for others in the organization. It might not convey the authority you’d like to establish to outsiders.

8. Principal

According to Investopedia, principal is essentially another name for a company owner. For some businesses, the principal is also the founder, CEO, or even the chief investor.

Creative titles to consider

Here are real-world examples of creative titles for high profile corporations. If you want to steer away from the traditional, these titles can be adapted to your business.

  • Genius - a service technician in Apple retail stores
  • Director of First Impressions - receptionist - Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Master of Disaster - helps with disaster recovery efforts - MapInfo Corp.
  • Project Meanie - keeps coworkers on schedule - InsightShare LLC
  • Crayon Evangelist - oversees all graphic-design needs - InteQ Corp.
  • Ambassador of buzz - corporate communications associate – Grasshopper
  • Digital prophet - trend predictor - AOL
  • Chief curator - chooses featured items - eBay
  • Chief Cheerleader - CEO who supports team efforts - Mid America Motorworks
  • President and TeaEO - play on words for CEO of Honest Tea
  • Chief Troublemaker - CEO - Matrix Group

Final thoughts

Once you’ve compiled a list of titles to consider, run them past friends, mentors, or even your own employees. Ask people in your industry and those outside of it to get a range of opinions.

The small business owner job title you settle on needs to fit your personality and company culture as well as clearly outlining your relationship to the business.

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