Example: Jing, an ecommerce entrepreneur, knew that people that grind their teeth can suffer from excruciating pain. More than just the physical pain, constant grinding can lead to expensive dental bills.

entrepreneur vs business owner

Starting Your First Venture? Here’s What You Need to Become a Business Owner

Starting Your First Venture? Here’s What You Need to Become a Business Owner

In 1990, he opened his own auto shop. He took a risk, went through the motions of uncertainty and stress, worked a second job to support his family and his business, grew his customer base, hired other mechanics, sold services (auto repair) as well as products (auto parts), and was ultimately accountable for his own success.

Ask him what he does for a living, however, and he won’t tell you he’s a business owner. He’ll say he fixes cars. Ask him about being his own boss and he’ll say, “When you have your own business, you’re not the boss. You’re an employee.”

Some people exclude those who own side businesses as “real business owners.” Others refer to the title broadly, including anyone who starts a new business in any capacity. And let’s not forget the “entrepreneurial tendencies” people can have without owning a business that many companies today look for in the people they hire.

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Are you a business owner?

When we use the words business owner , meaning one who individually or with partners is in control of monetary and operational decision-making, we are talking about a true sense of ownership. The business owner has ultimate control over the company and decides what to delegate and to whom.

Though the image of the young Silicon Valley prodigy often comes to mind, the average age of a business owner in the US is closer to 50 years old. A business owner can earn a monthly salary and typically earns more than an average American, but he or she is not an employee and is the only one in the company who has the right to take a net profit at the end of the year or reinvest that money back into the company.

To gat her whether you are a business owner or operator, it all comes down to one question: Are you running your business, or is your business running you? To determine the answer to this question, ask yourself the following: Are you able to be strategic, or are you doing the same things over and over because you’re too busy to create an atmosphere of innovation ? Are you able to step back and see the bigger picture? Or are you caught in the weeds because your team can’t effectively run the ship without you?

15 business owner titles

1. Owner

This is one of the most straightforward business owner titles, as it immediately indicates a person’s main role in an organization. It does not, however, give any indication regarding that respective person’s role within the company’s managerial structure, as some owners have no active role within their own organization.

This is typically not a major issue for small companies, as it is commonly assumed that a small business owner will be actively involved in their company’s day-to-day operations. As your company gets larger, you might add titles, such as chief financial officer or managing director.

2. CEO

The CEO title is an abbreviation for Chief Executive Officer, and it is generally given to the person who runs the day-to-day operations of an organization but also has a major role in creating and implementing long-term strategies. This role typically involves delegating to other employees consistently, so one of the CEO’s main responsibilities is finding the right professionals for each position in their company.

The CEO title is often used for large businesses, and though there is no restriction for using it if you are the head of a smaller organization, it has the potential to be confusing for business partners and clients.

Although the CEO of a large company is in charge of all major decisions within the organization, they usually do not also own the respective organization. More often, they answer to a board of directors and can be dismissed if their results are below expectations. So, even though the title of CEO shows high levels of authority and responsibility, it does not necessarily show any level of ownership

3. Founder

The title of founder automatically gives a clear indication that you were directly involved in the creation of the company. Unlike other titles, like CEO or owner, this one cannot be passed from one person to another, as the founding of a company is a one-time event.

This title typically resonates strongly with clients and partners, as it indicates your deep connection with the business. It does not, however, give any indication regarding your current role in the organization’s hierarchy, so it is recommended more for smaller companies unless followed by an additional title.

4. Managing director

Usually abbreviated to MD, the title of managing director is similar to that of a CEO in the sense that both are typically involved in all short- and long-term aspects and decisions of an organization. The choice between MD and CEO is typically a personal decision. However, in the case of smaller companies, the title of MD can potentially seem more appropriate than CEO, as the latter may seem unrealistic considering the size of the company.

5. President

As the head of an organization or a branch of an organization, the president may or may not also be the CEO. Some company presidents also hold the CEO title, while others have to directly report to the CEO, who is higher up in the hierarchy. It also does not indicate company ownership, as some presidents are simply employees while others own at least a part of the business.

6. Director

This business owner title shows your authority while also giving more details regarding your exact role within the business. It’s typically combined with one or more other words that better explain the nature of your professional duties. The exact level of authority implied by the title of director varies depending on the organization’s structure but they usually report directly to the CEO. The most commonly used director titles are director of operations

7. Principal

The title of principal can imply multiple responsibilities that vary from one organization to another but it is most widely used for company founders, owners and CEOs. The role typically implies direct involvement in the management of active clients and daily business operations, but it is also an essential decision-making role regarding the organization’s short- and long-term future.

For smaller companies, the roles of president, CEO and principal usually bear the same responsibilities, whereas principals in larger companies typically handle direct relationships with the organization’s clients, business partners and other involved parties.

8. Managing partner or managing member

This title gives people a good impression regarding your level of involvement and ownership within the company. The word "managing" is a clear indication that you are directly involved in the management of a company department or of the entire company, while the word "member" or "partner" shows that you at least partially own the organization.

9. Administrator

Although an administrator can also be a manager, the two are typically different roles, as the administrator usually deals with various aspects of an organization’s short- and long-term plans, while a manager role implies leading a group of people. As a business owner, the title of administrator is a clear indication that you also play a major part in directing the company’s current and future actions.