Even if you are in business with your best friends or your closest family, they really do need to be in place at the start, to make sure that if that relationship breaks down then you have a structure and a framework for resolving those disputes. And that is what a shareholders agreement, properly drafted, will do.
You may think at the start of the business that you are never going to fall out with your friends, you’re never going to fall out with your family, but they potentially are the worst disputes. You are not saying this is a rule book and we must live by this shareholders agreement. What you are trying to do is – if the worst does happen, we’ve got something there to protect us. And that’s really what a shareholders agreement is. Its an insurance policy for the business.
A shareholders agreement will really provide stability for the people involved in the business because they will know exactly what they are entitled to, they know exactly who makes the decisions, and what rights they have in the business. In our experience, a shareholders agreement is there to prevent costly litigation.
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