Is the president of a company the owner? The answer to this common question is: sometimes. The owner of a company can choose to appoint a president to manage the day-to-day operations, or the owner can serve as the president to manage these operations for the business.

15 Amazing Small-Business Owner Titles: Which One is Right for You?

A number of titles exist for small-business owners. You can stick with something traditional, such as president or CEO, or you can go with something more unique. If you opt for a traditional title, chief executive officer (CEO) is professional and clearly shows you're in charge of the business. For companies that want to seem more established or that have teams of employees, CEO is a commonly used title for the person in charge.

Another title that sounds professional and conveys an authoritative presence is president. In some cases, the title of president is used interchangeably with CEO, although you could appoint a CEO who has their own responsibilities. The title you choose for yourself may depend on how you choose to structure the other titles in the organization.

As the business owner, you could choose a simple and clear title: owner. This title is generally used in a single-owner business setup, as partnerships and corporations with investors tend to have multiple owners or shareholders. Another title option that shows you're the person in charge or primary owner is principal. This title sounds slightly more official than the title of owner. In the past, business owners and operators referred to themselves as proprietors. This title conveys a similar message as owner and is especially popular with service providers in small towns and businesses that operate on traditional main streets.

If you founded the company and formed it yourself, rather than forming a partnership or buying into the business, you might choose to go by the title of founder. For those who aren't necessarily the single owners of businesses, a title that sounds professional is managing director.

In a business formulated as an LLC, the owners are called members. However, if you want to sound more official or convey the message that you're responsible for making business-related decisions, you might want to use the title of managing member. In a partnership, the title of managing partner can convey you are responsible for making primary business decisions while also showing how the business is set up. If you operate a technical business, a title that fits well in that niche is technical director.

In a creative line of work, such as operating an art shop, fashion line, or design firm, the title of creative director is a good choice. If you run a business set in an office, the title of administrator works well. Director is relevant in businesses that include specialties or industries in the titles of their employees. For example, you might want to use the title of director of technology for a software or hardware company. To keep it more generic, you could also use a title like director of operations.

Instead of using chief executive officer, you could use a title like chief plumber or chief accountant to fit your role. This option works for anyone across just about any industry, from financial professionals to owners of businesses that provide services.

If you'd prefer to use a more creative title to show the personality of your business, try something like:

  • Director of toilet unclogging
  • Coding ninja
  • Chief disruptor

When you go this route, it's important to make sure the members of your target audience understand the humor and won't take these titles too seriously.

Why Is the Owner/Founder of the Company Called the CEO?

A CEO isn't necessarily the company's owner. In order to prevent confusion between the titles of owner and CEO, they are separate and distinct. An individual can serve as both the owner and CEO, while another may have been appointed by the business owner to work as the CEO. Another person might work as the chairman of the board, president, and CEO of the company. Factors that impact the use of these titles include:

  • Company policies
  • Business entity type
  • Country of operation

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