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 claim 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‘ title (local parlance for the boss).

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 chosen, the most important criteria for business success exceeds titles. It’s more of execution, management, 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, the 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 the President.


If it’s not a partnership or corporation with investors, then you might just choose to keep it simple and go with the owner.


Principal is another title that places you as the owner or person in charge of the business. Usually, companies in the form of partnership adopt the use of principal. Could be the 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 centres like schools, tutor centres often accord themselves the Proprietor title.

Managing Director

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. But, we are not sure of the difference between the Managing Director and Directing Manager.  Anyway, we’d just move along.

Technical Director

technical-director business owners title

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.

Creative Director

Just like the Technical Director,  a Creative Director can be a professional title for those who run a 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.

Chief Accountant

In addition to Partner, the head and owner of an accounting firm could also go by the Chief Accountant title.


This is a popular lingua-franca in Nigeria. It’s easily adopted across a 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.



Assuming the “Founder” title might be the most recent of all. Visionaries of the startup bubble would rather stick with Founder than most other titles. We’re not sure if it’s a safe play to stick with this title or just a random shift. All we know is, startup founders find the Founder title really cool.

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I use simple words to express vast messages relating to SMEs in Nigeria and Africa at large.