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Business Owner Titles: What to Call Yourself

If you’re a small business owner, you know the importance of titles and positions within an organization. Your title tells people exactly what you do and where you are in the hierarchy of the company. 

While your title is not the most important thing, it is a useful way of building clout within and outside of your company. How you present yourself reflects on the company, and you want to make sure that people see your responsibilities and impact as a leader in the right light. 

In this article, we discuss business leader and founder titles that you can choose from and how to go about picking the right one. 

Why Your Title Matters

A title, whether attached to your name or the name of your organization, gives the first impression and can be the difference between someone walking through your door or walking away. Depending on your industry, a title may even be a legal requirement to do business in a given industry. 

When crafting your company’s title, you need to think about what you want your company to stand for and how you want to position yourself within the marketplace. A descriptive title can help to clarify the type of business you are and the services that you provide. This can reduce any confusion and help to encourage customers to do business with you.

Common Business Leader Titles You Can Choose From

The problem of choosing the right title for business founders and leaders has been around since the earliest businesses started up. Fortunately, this gives you a lot of options to choose from that are both recognizable and appropriate under the right circumstances. Here are some of the options that you can choose from. 

Founder and CEO

The founder and CEO of a company are often one and the same person. This title is used when a person founds the company and is the driving force behind its vision and operations. A founder is typically the person who first came up with the idea to start the company in the first place, while a CEO is a person who leads the company’s daily operations. 

You can choose the title of Founder and CEO if you founded the company, then took the lead leadership position in the company. If your company has several founders, then the other founders will move into different positions within the company. These usually include:

  • CFO – Chief Financial Officer
  • COO – Chief Operating Officer
  • CIO – Chief Information Officer

Your title after the company begins operating simply depends on which position you moved into. Noting that you are one of the founders in your title can be an effective way to show seniority in a company. Founders, although not an official position, are often seen as some of the most senior people within a company. Their view of the company is important since they were a part of building the foundation for the company and have a unique perspective on how things can and should be run. 

Chief Executive Officer (CEO)

The CEO is the person who oversees the company’s executive staff, as well as its daily operation. He or she reports directly to the board of directors and may have a say in other strategic matters as well, but is primarily focused on the day-to-day running of the organization. 

CEOs are often strong leaders, who have a high degree of authority within the company. A CEO typically came up with the idea to start the company, but may not have been the person who first came up with the idea. 

Choosing the CEO title means that you are one of the highest possible positions in the company, with only the President and Board of Directors above you. CEOs are also well-known and command a lot of respect in every industry. 


If you’re working with others to run your company or if you’re a sole proprietor with a business partner, you may want to consider using the title Co-Founder or Co-Owner. This can help to demonstrate the importance of your partners, as well as how much each of you contributed to the company’s founding.

However, this title is often combined with something else. In most cases where someone uses the Co-Funder title by itself, it shows that they serve an advisory-only role. Some founders do this because they can retire after taking the company public but want to stay active and continue to help the company. In other cases, they do this because they don’t fit any of the other titles well enough. 

Managing Partner/Managing Director

If you’re in a partnership with other people, you may want to consider using the title managing partner or managing director. This can help to distinguish your role within the partnership and clarify how much authority you have compared to the other managing partners. It is beneficial to use the title managing director if you have a limited partnership, as this title is common in the UK. 

A company can have multiple directors. The role of the Managing Director is to oversee business operations. In essence, this is one of the positions where the owner of the company also runs the company.


If you’re running the business as a corporation or limited liability company (LLC), you may be referred to as the principal. This term often appears in legal documents, such as contracts or articles of incorporation, as well as in annual reports. In practice, the Principal acts as a CEO in many ways, leading the business on a daily basis while also handling the long-term planning as a President. 

However, some of these responsibilities can be delegated to other executives since the Principal role generally does not have hard and fast guidelines. It provides a bit more freedom than a CEO would expect in that the Principal can focus on long-term strategic goals with limited oversight from other parties in the company. 

Board President

In some cases, companies are founded with a leading board of directors with the head of the board filling the roles of active business leader. In this case, you could become the Board President, the leading member of the board of directors.

This option is usually reserved for business structures that require group oversight rather than having a single person solely in charge. Some medical facilities are run this way. The board has the highest authority in the company, and the Board President manages the it. 

However, this also means that you have the highest level of scrutiny on your work. The other board members are directly responsible for making sure you are doing your job. You can also be replaced very easily. All it takes is a vote of no confidence by the rest of the board. The board then votes one of themselves into the position. 

How to Choose the Right Business Owner Title 

As you can see, there are many different titles to choose from, each with its own distinct meaning. However, if you’re still not sure which title to use, there are some things you can do to figure it out. 

Look At The Legal Requirements

Your options are limited based on the legal requirements of your company. For example, public companies of any type must have a board of directors. The top position in the company is the Chairman of the Board or Board President. The CEO is not the top position.

See What Similar Companies Do

Think about what your company does and what industry it is in. You can also talk to your lawyer or accountant to see what title they believe you should use. 

Don’t Stress Too Much About Business Owner Titles

Your title in the company is important, but business owner titles are not the most important thing. Don’t stress too much about your title. Instead, focus on doing good work and making the company better. In any capacity as a leader, you must find ways of making your company more successful. Regardless of what people call you, that responsibility is still yours to shoulder.

Fortunately, there are many ways that you can improve the operations of your company without changing business owner titles. Business leaders often spend their time building partnerships with other companies and improving relationships with individual customers. You can do both by hiring an answering service to manage your phone calls. 

When customers call for help, they expect a response no matter what time it is. Impress your customers by choosing an answering service that is available at all hours of the day and night. We also help triage calls so customers get the right help from the right person ASAP.

If you’re ready to get started with a professional answering service, we’re here to help. Contact Answer Aide by calling (866) 427-3500 or by filling out our online form. We’re happy to partner with you to support your business while it grows.

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