Just as businesses vary in Nigeria, the titles business owners accord themselves also differ — from SMEs, startups to large corporations, you usually find titles business owners bear very interesting. Here’s an instance; the owner of a dry cleaning company could append the title “Managing Director” to his name, while that Igbo man at Alaba market is good to go with the ‘Oga‘ (local parlance for boss) title.
Despite that every business owner needs to decide which title to go by, there are some points to consider in choosing appropriate titles that best suit a particular company or role. But irrespective of the title business owners choose to go by, the most important criteria for business success exceeds the title. It’s more of competence, efficiency and productivity. On the other hand, we found it pretty interesting to explore the ranges of titles Nigerian business owners claim. Who knows, you could find a preferred title among them. Let’s explore.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
Chief Executive Officer which is usually the official, and sometimes, highest ranking executive is mainly responsible for the operations of the company. The CEO also reports to a board of directors and may appoint other managers if needed. Most business owners using this title seem to be very formal in their dealings.
Here’s another formal title, which carries a message of authority. Although similar to CEO, there’s been lots of company executives who bear this title separately from the CEO. So, depending on your choice and how your company management is structured, you may decide to go with President.
If it’s not a partnership or corporation with investors, then you might just choose to keep it simple and go with owner.
Principal is another title that places you as the owner or person in charge of the business. Usually, companies in form of partnership adopt the use of principal. Could be Principal Partner, or the stand alone ‘Principal’. This title is also often used by the academics administrator in Nigerian secondary schools. But in the business world it means a different thing entirely.
In Nigeria owners of educational centers like schools, tutor centers often tag themselves with the Proprietor title.
When the business is co-owned and you are in charge of the day-to-day running of the business, Managing Director could be a great option. However, there are cases where the sole owners of businesses also adopt this title. As earlier mentioned, it all depends on the company’s structural workflow.
For technical related businesses like a music studio, electronic workshops, etc, owners often choose to go with the Technical Director title. Considering the nature of the business niche, this title is more of a perfect fit.
Just like the Technical Director, a Creative Director can be a professional title for those who run creative business like art shops, hair styling and design or animation companies.
This title works mostly in office-based businesses. Although, the administrator in some organisations is a totally different person from the CEO, some business owners also choose to go with this title.
In Nigeria, the Partners title is usually associated with owners of Law Chambers or Accounting firms.
In addition to Partner, the head and owner of an accounting firm could also go by the Chief Accountant title.
This is a popular lingual-franca in Nigeria. It’s easily adopted across different cadre of business — from the phone seller at Computer Village to the Human Resources Manager of well structured companies. Even corporate organisations like banks aren’t excluded. There’s no perfect explanation that hints on why many establishments go with the ‘Oga’ title Probably because it’s so relatable, or maybe due to its local pronunciation. The fact remains, Oga seems to be the most common and easiest of all.