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    Kelly Exeter FS Editor
    • Total posts: 241

    Matthew White’s piece today got me wondering – does anyone here call themselves ‘CEO’ or Director? What job title do you guys have on your business card?

    • Total posts: 4,485

    Kelly, I don’t list a job title Just my name.

    CEO, CFO, CIO, Book Keeper, Business owner, Head gardener, lawn mower guy, Handyman, Caretaker, General dogs body, dads taxi, etc wouldn’t fit on a standard business card.

    • Total posts: 46

    Kelly, I’m following this with interest…

    I’m in the situation where I need to land a title soon…. Branding and marketing is well underway but I still don’t have a title for the business cards (or introductions)…

    I have been toying with the concept of labeling myself “Business Development Lead, or Lead consultant” or similar to avoid the need to declare myself as the owner…

    Jason Ramage
    • Total posts: 3,161

    Interesting Topic, one i recall was posted with vigour a few years back and also generated significant input..

    Personally, I run with no title.. Ever since i started out on my own, never placed a title on a card or discussed my title. If raised by a client, i refer to myself as the “pilot’ which is carried over from my corporate days of always looking at something from a helicopter pilots perspective.

    Just adding to the question, although i know it wasnt asked, i feel that each person throws a different angle on it and the influencing factors fall into 2 categories:
    a. What sector you previously come from – if corporate, there is more importance to titles if small business, not so much


    b. on who your clients are, are they corporate and add weight to titles or are they small business/consumers and apply no weight to titles

    Anyways, my 30 cents worth

    Jason Ramage | Lucas Arthur Pty Ltd | E: hello@lucasarthur.net.au   P: 61 3 8324 0344    M: 61 412 244 888
    • Total posts: 318

    Technically, I’m Director. Being an egalitarian, I call myself Co-Founder.

    • Total posts: 9

    I started an travel and tours company and my title is ‘Adventure Specialist’,
    Most of my customers love it…

    • Total posts: 396

    I never used to be anything but now with a team beneath me I call myself director, As a lover of films, I looove pretending to be a movie director :D

    • Total posts: 641

    Most titles are overrated and stuck in the 80s. Just be yourself and forget about too much titling only if necessary to perform your job well.

    Kelly Exeter FS Editor
    • Total posts: 241

    I am wondering if we’re all best off going with no title these days?! And on our business cards just state somewhere what we do/are about?!

    • Total posts: 37

    One of the best I’ve seen was a design company and they all had titles like, “I run the place, I make cool stuff etc” nice way to give new customers a good feeling about what and how they do things.

    In the 4hr Work week Tim Ferris mentioned something about never giving yourself a title of CEO or Director even if you’re a solo business as all complaints come immediately to you, spam, tele-marketers.

    A lot of entrepreneurs always promote to look bigger than you are also, dial 1 for sales, 2 for accounts etc I saw Ruslan Kogan present once and he had pretend email accounts for people when he started out. xyz in accounts would respond to account related questions. Very funny preso.

    • Total posts: 20

    I think it’s polite to have some sort of title or description – that’s partly the point of a business card IMO. Not only for clients but also suppliers and other contacts. It saves them the embarrassment of asking awkward questions or not really knowing whether you can truly speak for the company or are merely an employee.

    I agree it isn’t easy finding a suitable title but unless it is utterly clear that you are a solo outfit I think you should make the effort to actually introduce yourself on your card, including placing yourself in some sort of context.

    ‘Proprietor’ is a fairly safe bet, but even something like ‘sales and support’ makes it clear that you hold a key position without being grandiose IMO.

    • Total posts: 660

    This topic is one that’s very close to my heart! I wrote about it a few years back here, the comments are a worthwhile read.

    • Total posts: 20

    It does make an interesting read, thanks Sam (for what it’s worth, have you considered using words like ‘facilitator’ (or even ‘small business incubator’) when describing what you do?)

    I want to make a couple of additional points, partly after reading your post and comments, and partly just stuff I’ve been thinking about lately anyway as I do need to give myself a title.

    It is my opinion that trying to do away with titles is actually a bit of a nineties/noughties, new-age hippie experiment that didn’t work. It’s like the often-ridiculed ad concept that doesn’t even mention the product, and it reminds me of the Monty Python sketch where the entire crowd chants “Yes, we are all individuals!” – we can’t all be wondrous un-pigeonholeable geniuses that deserve to monopolize an entire conversation to tell someone we’ve just met how awesome we are at everything.

    Pigeonholes are necessary. We all use them, whether we admit it or not. It’s fundamental to relationship management. The reason that musical genres exist, and that artists blur and evade them, is down to how we actually function. We need to pigeonhole to some extent so that our heads don’t explode with the enormous potential of the thousands of people we all know – but of course, nobody likes to be pigeonholed.

    Well get over it. Unless you want to be like the handyman van that claims to ‘specialise’ in everything from plastering ceilings to pruning roses, you actually need to give people some kind of clue what your core expertise is. If you can’t find a way to describe that to your liking, then that is your problem – don’t try and make it your potential client’s (or the bloke in the lift’s) problem. Put some more effort in, and come up with something CONCISE that helps people understand how you you might fit in to their life without it needing a whole conversation.

    And while I’m at it (I’m on my soap box here) PLEASE don’t be the kind of person that answers the question “what do you do” with statements like “I make people’s wealth-creation dreams come true”. Perhaps your target market laps it up, I don’t know, but I can tell you for a fact that I die inside and I’m looking for the fastest way to get out of there before you try to get me into your pyramid/ponzi scheme or sell me whatever kind of slippery rubbish it is that people peddle these days while they ‘fake it til they make it’. If you can use a line like that with a complete stranger and mean it, you are not someone I want to be stuck in a conversation with. I’m sure the feeling is mutual, it’s just that I had the decency to actually answer your question with something factual and comprehensible and now you are bending my ear with your slippery new-age drivel.

    (end rant).

    For small businesses it’s hard, but taking the easy way out doesn’t impress anyone. A good business card or website should clarify what your product or service is all about (assuming the business name doesn’t already do that), so your ‘title’ doesn’t need to duplicate that – it is more important that you give somebody a clue how you fit into the business. If ‘dry’ titles like owner or proprietor don’t suit you then call yourself chief this or master that or senior something amusing, but at least have the decency and the courage to make it clear you run the show, you make the deals and you are the one to call when something isn’t right.

    • Total posts: 22

    I spent a lot of time trying to work something out here. Wanted to be a bit different from my old cards which said director. In the end I went with nothing and I’m pretty happy with that choice

    • Total posts: 50

    I don’t like titles that are either buffed or too quirky trying to sound cool but not really descriptive.

    I think you should use a title to help the other person perceive you, regardless if you’re using a standard or a fun title. And should be catered to who you’re doing business with. No point in stating you’re a community manager if the other side never heard it on average.

    I like – “Adventure Specialist”, as it’s both descriptive and fun, but not too quirky.

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