Do you have co-owners, other shareholders or partners? Do you have an agreement between you, in writing?
If the answer is no, then please do something about it today. We see many businesses established without any form of written agreement between business partners. It is very difficult, as at the start, all parties are in agreement as to the vision of the business. The join energy they have to start the project and the excitement to get going can be overwhelming.
However, it is a fact that businesses and owners change over time. What would happen if one of you wants to leave or dies? How would you deal with an approach from a big investor or potential purchaser? Could you sell you shares without consulting your business partner? What will you do if the business needs investment from you? How often will you take salaries or dividends?
Even long-established businesses should review their positions. We see situations where many owners have come and gone and the agreement put in place 5, 10, 15 years ago is no longer valid or helpful. It may not even bind all of the parties that it should.
There are simple things that should concern every business owner: who holds the shares and what can they do? What rights do I have to vote? What rights to I have to be a director and who can remove me?
Pinel Advocates regularly advises on agreements for business owners and can often do so for a fixed fee. Our team can advise on a range of commercial issues for business owners, including shareholders'/partners' rights, employment contracts, restrictive covenants, IP, commercial leases and general contracts. Our experience spans many sectors, financial, retail and hospitality.