CEO and Owner: 5 Key Differences

CEO Vs. Owner board room

Quite often people confuse these two terms. How often do you see people comparing CEO and owner? Everyone knows that the person at the top is responsible for the success or failure of the company. This is true for both small businesses and large corporations. But who is at the top? Here you have to think about the CEO and the owner.

As a rule, in large corporations and public companies, the CEO is the person of the highest level. He has the final say on how things will be done. But it is not necessary that he also owns the business. In contrast, in a small business, the same person owns and runs the business.

Comparing the CEO and the owner, you will notice a lot of similarities between them. But there are also many differences. Embarrassed?

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Well, first of all, both CEOs and owners need very similar traits to make their businesses successful. They can’t get far without quick critical thinking and sharp communication skills. They also have quite a few similar responsibilities. However, they are also quite different. How? Let’s find out!

CEO vs Owners: All the Details Explained

Yes, both CEOs and owners have the same responsibilities. But more often than not, how they handle these responsibilities varies greatly.

For example, it is quite common for owners to outsource some of these tasks to others. They believe in delegation and don’t have to carry most of their responsibility on their own. The CEO is different. He must be aware of competition and opportunities. Yes, he also delegates his work, but he controls everything.

According to the IRS, any business with assets of $10 million or less is considered a small business. And if the value of the asset increases after this period, the business is either medium or large. And this is true for every company, regardless of size or nature.

Typically, in large companies, employees must report to their supervisors. But keep in mind that this CEO is also an employee, and he works for someone else. CEOs must report to the board of directors and shareholders of the company.

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Small businesses are usually run by their owners, who have full control. They are not accountable to anyone for their actions.

Interested in learning more about the comparison between CEO and owner? Let’s dive into these two terms.

What you need to know about CEOs

You must be wondering what the CEO does. A CEO is essentially a leader hired by a company. He delegates tasks and recognizes opportunities. The CEO’s job is to ensure that everything in the company runs smoothly. And he has to answer to shareholders when something goes wrong. It is required by law to promote transparency. It must protect key stakeholders.

CEOs often receive guidance from the board of directors on how to proceed. He must abide by the visions and goals of the organization. If it is a private company, the CEO must follow the instructions of the owner.

The CEO works for a salary. The amount of this salary depends on many factors. These include the size and location of the business, as well as the type of industry they operate in. Naturally, higher salaries mean that managers have more responsibility.

You can’t hope to be appointed CEO if you don’t have education and experience. After all, as the CEO, you will be responsible for overcoming the challenges of the business. And every company owner will want to get someone high-level for this position.

What you need to know about business owners

Now let’s shed some light on business owners. When someone owns 100% of a company, they are the owner. And if he has a partner, he is considered a co-owner, as we saw with Snapchat.

Owners are basically responsible for everything that happens in their business. They have the final say in everything from operations to marketing and sales. As the business grows, the owners delegate some of their responsibilities. They hire people to make up the team. Their goal is to stimulate income growth.

Consequently, they engage executives to carry out key operations. Sometimes the owners take on the title of CEO, but they don’t report to anyone else.

How much a business owner earns is difficult to determine. This greatly depends on the size and scale of the business. Usually the owners take a share of the profits.

CEO and Owner: Key Differences

You now have a clear understanding of what these two terms entail. Of course, you must find that they are also very similar. But here are the key differences between the two positions that you should be aware of.

  1. The CEO is the highest position in the organization, and the owner is the person who has full control of the company.
  2. The CEO is accountable to the board of directors and can be fired and hired as needed. Owners cannot be interrogated by a third party about how they run their business.
  3. It is not uncommon for a company to be founded by its owner, such as Amazon, but this is rarely the case with a CEO, as the founder usually does not want to be the CEO.
  4. Business owners are usually fixated on long-term goals. They develop goals that will help the company in the long run. Managers usually have to set goals for themselves and achieve them within a short period of time.
  5. A company can have multiple CEOs within a short span of time, but the owner pretty much stays the same for the most part, unless of course he decides to sell.

CEO and owners: working for the good of the company

This is the most important trait of both leaders and owners. Both refer to the welfare of the organization, regardless of the name. The CEO undoubtedly means a highly respected position that people dream of. And owning a business is, of course, what everyone thinks about. No matter which path you choose, you must be prepared to take on quite a few responsibilities.


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