You wouldn’t think deciding on what title to use would be tricky as a small business owner, but it’s not as straightforward as you might imagine, and you may use different titles at different times.

I am a bit of a chameleon and can change colors to match my surroundings.

My company is an S Corp and my legal title is president. However, since I am a solo business owner, that title has always felt a little clunky and misleading to me.

If I am going to a small business event, I might use business consultant. If I am going to be talking about career transition, I might use career transition coach. If I am looking for guest bloggers, I might use editor in chief.

It’s fun to wear different hats. And it requires less explanation on your part if you customize the title for the situation.

For networking and client meetings

Many entrepreneurs like to use founder or co-founder. This works well if you have a tech startup, but might not feel right for a different kind of company.

I have a client who always uses the title managing partner even though he’s a solo business owner. This is confusing to me because his corporate structure is not a partnership. When I asked him about it, he said he uses that title because that is what his clients expect it to be. His competition is usually larger companies, so I guess that makes some sense.

Other professionals use a clever title that ties into what they do. A social selling expert often used chief connections officer as his title.

If there is a specific part of your business that you prefer to work in, you might say you’re the vice president of sales and marketing.

Someone else might call themselves the COO.

Someone else might use the title of general manager.

For LinkedIn

Many of you may disagree, but I suggest that you don’t use your title as the headline in LinkedIn. If you’re hoping to get inbound inquiries, I think it’s better to be more descriptive so people actually know what you do.

Everyone is distracted these days, so the only thing someone might look at is your headline. Therefore, I recommend giving it some thought.

Here are some examples:

Example 1 – Catherine Morgan

I play it straight in my profile:

Business Consultant | Speaker | Career Transition Expert | Writer | Founder of The Depression Discussions™

I’ll admit that it’s not very creative, but it does include the most important points.

Example 2 – Carol Roth

Carol is always working on several different projects. How does she summarize her expertise in one short, concise statement? Like this:

Future File Creator; Business Strategist & Advisor; TV & On-Camera Host; Recovering Investment Banker; Small Biz Expert

Example 3 – Phil Gerbyshak

Phil also does a lot of things: he speaks, he trains, he’s an author, and he interviews people.

Since he’s an expert on using LinkedIn and trains people to use it effectively, I thought I should share his headline:

Sales Trainer | Pinball Wizard | Business at the Intersection of Sales, Marketing & Tech | Orange glasses are my fave!

As you can see, Phil lets his bright and bold personality shine through. He also has a nice custom background, so you might want to click through to his profile.

Have I gotten you thinking? What’s the title and LinkedIn headline that make the most sense for you and your business?