If you want to oversee all department functions in a company and make important business decisions, you might want to become a small business president. You will first need to get a business education and work a significant number of years in your industry. That prepares you to start your own business and run it -- you get to be the head honcho. But, make sure you start a business you enjoy, because you'll probably be working at it for many years. And, expect to earn an average annual salary of over $80,000.
Salary and Qualifications
Small business presidents earned average annual salaries of $82,000 as of 2013, according to the job website Indeed.com. In this position, you might also receive bonuses and stock options, which can equal and even exceed your annual salary. To become a small business president, you will likely need a master's degree in business, which is the degree most executives obtain. A bachelor's degree in business and extensive experience might suffice for some jobs. Other important qualifications you will need include conceptual, analytical, communication and decision-making skills.
Salary by State
Average salaries for small business presidents can vary considerably by state. In 2013, they earned some of the highest annual salaries of $97,000 in New York, according to Indeed.com. You would also earn relatively high salaries in Washington, D.C., California or Connecticut at $94,000, $90,000 or $89,000 per year, respectively. Expect to earn closer to the industry average for small presidents in Ohio -- $78,000 annually. And your income would be somewhat less in Oklahoma, South Carolina or South Dakota -- $75,000, $74,000 and $64,000, respectively.
Most small business presidents earn higher salaries as they gain experience. If you stay with the same company, merit increases alone can add significantly to your income. You might also attract some premier small companies as you become a more competent small business president, and receive higher salary offers. Geographical area can also impact your salary in this job, as small companies usually pay more in New York or Massachusetts because of higher housing and living costs.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn't report job statistics for small business presidents. It does, however, report job opportunities for top executives, which are expected to increase 5 percent from 2010 to 2020. Jobs for top executives such as small business presidents do not increase as quickly as most lower-level jobs. You might find more job opportunities in high-growth industries such as the wireless, health care and software industries. Also, focus on growth cities around the country -- and even internationally -- which can dramatically increase your number of job opportunities. Strong growth cities for small businesses and the presidents who run them include Phoenix, Dallas, the Silicon Valley area near San Francisco, and Denver.
2016 Salary Information for Top Executives
Top executives earned a median annual salary of $109,140 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, top executives earned a 25th percentile salary of $70,800, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $165,620, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 2,572,000 people were employed in the U.S. as top executives.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Top Executives: Job Outlook
- Society for Human Resource Management: President/CEO
- The Ladders: Motility LLC: President and COO
- Indeed: Small Business President Salary
- Indeed: Small Business President Salary in Washington, DC, New York, and Connecticut
- Indeed: Small Business President Salary in California, Ohio, and Oklahoma
- Indeed: Small Business President Salary in South Carolina, and South Dakota
- CNN Money: 10 Most Entrepreneurial States
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Top Executives
- Career Trend: Top Executives
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