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What are the main issues we need to cover in a shareholders agreement or partnership agreement?

Key issues typically include:

  • What the business will do.
  • How the business will be managed — who will be responsible for what and how decisions will be taken.
  • What financial contributions each individual will make initially, and what will happen if more financing is needed in future.
  • How much the business will be able to borrow.
  • How profits will be shared or how owner-managers will be paid.
  • Individual employment terms — for example, hours worked, holiday entitlement.
  • How much income will be taken out of the business and how much reinvested for growth.
  • How new shareholders or partners can be brought into the business.
  • What will happen if a shareholder or partner wants to leave the business (or sell part of their shareholding) and what their financial entitlements will be.
  • How long the business is intended to continue and what will happen if the company is wound up or partnership dissolved.

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