In the UK, right now there's an entrepreneurship boom and there should be. Start-ups are popping up daily, there is no shortage of ideas materialising as good innovative businesses. However, the majority will fail and one of the main reasons is they prioritise image before substance.
For entrepreneurs of all ages vanity can and often does, get in the way of business. Getting hung up on branding, personal image and social status is commonplace. In the information age, our public profiles are readily available and we can call ourselves anything we like. One of my personal 'bug bears' is the number of new entrepreneurs branding themselves as 'CEOs' on their LinkedIn Profiles.
"A fancy self-appointed job title could make all the difference in someone's decision to write you off."
When you're a start-up entrepreneur it's often just you and maybe a small team, usually you're doing most, if not all of the work. If the young Fraser Doherty of Super Jams had called himself CEO from the outset, whilst running his cottage industry producing and selling jams...Would he have been taken any more seriously?
In 2007, Fraser got his first major contract with Waitrose. Would they have taken him as seriously if he had liaised with them as a 'CEO'? The thing is, your public profile is the first impression that people get about you. A fancy self-appointed job title could make all the difference in someone's decision to write you off.
Unless you are well financed and have already have the managerial skills to form a cohesive team, there's only going to be a handful of you working on building what could be something great.
It's easy to be attracted to the social status a 'CEO' commands, it's no wonder people fantasise about a CEO role. However it could backfire when you land a deal and well, you're the one making the coffee, delivering the product or service and in the unlikely event something goes wrong you haven't got the substance to back up the image you so carefully created.
Not everyone will survive the start-up years. Not everyone will continue to want the job of a Chief Executive Officer. If you were the founder of that small business also -maybe take a step back and re-visit why you started it in the first place.
Google search "CEO" and whether you choose to lose the title or not, remember that your journey will be hard work. Enjoy what it really means to be a start-up or a small business. You may become a CEO one day, or you may actually rather hire one.