Do I Need A Shareholders Agreement? (Including FREE Shareholders Agreement Tool)

Find out "Do I Need a Shareholders Agreement?"

A Shareholders Agreement is an important legal document that outlines the rights, responsibilities, and obligations of shareholders (owners) of a company. It serves as a roadmap for how the business will be run, addressing important issues such as decision-making, profit-sharing, dispute resolution, and more. 


These days, if you get your company set up by your Accountant, they often don't advise you about whether you need a Shareholders Agreement or whether a Shareholders Agreement will protect you and your business partner from risk. But that doesn't mean you don't need this important document. 


So do you really need a Shareholders Agreement for your business? Let's explore...

Do I Need a Shareholders Agreement (Plus Free Shareholders Agreement Tool)

Understanding Shareholders Agreements

Before considering whether you need a Shareholders Agreement, it's important to understand what it is. A Shareholders Agreement is a legally binding contract between the shareholders (ie the owners) of a company. It typically covers:

  1. Decision-making: How major business decisions will be made, including voting rights and procedures.
  2. Profit-sharing: How profits will be distributed among shareholders.
  3. Dispute resolution: Procedures for resolving conflicts and disputes among shareholders.
  4. Transfer of shares: Conditions and restrictions on the transfer of shares.
  5. Exit strategy: Plans for the sale or transfer of shares in the event of an exit.


What is a Shareholders Agreement?

a close up of two people shaking hands. Do I need a Shareholders Agreement plus Shareholders Agreement Tool

Do You Need a Shareholders Agreement?

Whether or not you need a Shareholders Agreement depends on various factors, including the nature of your business, the number of shareholders involved, and your future plans.


Here are some scenarios where having a Shareholders Agreement is highly recommended:

  1. Multiple Shareholders: If your company has multiple shareholders (eg business partners), each with different interests and objectives, a Shareholders Agreement can help align their expectations and prevent conflicts. You may be best friends when you start a business, but decisions about money and stress can often fracture that relationship - it's best to prepare for the worst case in advance.
  2. Complex Ownership Structure: Companies with complex ownership structures, such joint ventures or group holding companies, often benefit from a Shareholders Agreement to clarify roles and responsibilities.
  3. Protection of Minority Shareholders: A Shareholders Agreement can provide protection for minority shareholders by ensuring their rights are upheld in decision-making processes.
  4. Future Planning: If you anticipate changes in ownership, such as the introduction of new investors or the departure of existing shareholders, a Shareholders Agreement can establish guidelines for these scenarios.
  5. Legal Compliance: In some jurisdictions, having a Shareholders Agreement may be a legal requirement for certain types of companies or industries.



Do All Shareholders Have To Sign A Shareholders Agreement?


When Isn't a Shareholders' Agreement required?

We make it really simple for our clients:

  1. If you're a Sole Trader (the only owner and Director) - you don't need a Shareholders Agreement
  2. If you have a company, partnership, joint venture or other ownership structure and there is more than one shareholder or partner - you should have a Shareholders Agreement (or Partnership Agreement or Joint Venture Agreement) in place
  3. If you started a business with one or more partners and don't have a Shareholder's Agreement in place - put one in place as a priority! It could only take one argument and inability to decide the best course of action, or one partner wanting to leave your business, to bring things crashing down.

Number of partnership and shareholders disputes that Rachelle Hare has given legal advice on in the last 3 years - 16!!! (And that doesn't count hers and Shannon Drew's business advisory clients.

 

Our Shareholders Agreement Tool

To help you determine whether a Shareholders Agreement is right for your business, we've developed a FREE Shareholders Agreement Tool.


Simply fill out the form below, providing details about your business structure, number of shareholders, decision-making process, and other relevant factors. Our tool will calculate a score based on your responses, and we will email you immediately whether a Shareholders Agreement is recommended for your situation.

Do I Need A Shareholders Agreement Tool

Do I Need a Shareholders Agreement?

Type in Your Details and we will Email you our Recommendation

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Board meeting. Do I Need A Shareholders Agreement?

Conclusion

While not every business may require a Shareholders Agreement, it's essential to consider the benefits and potential risks of not having one in place. Whether you're a small startup or a large corporation, a Shareholders Agreement can provide clarity, protection, and peace of mind for all parties involved.


Use our Shareholders Agreement Tool above to assess your needs and make an informed decision for the future of your business.

Let's chat about how we can help your business

Rachelle Hare and Shannon Drew, Blaze Business & Legal
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About the Author

Rachelle Hare

Rachelle Hare - Managing Director and Principal Practitioner of Blaze Business & Legal

Rachelle Hare

Rachelle Hare is a highly experienced Construction Lawyer and Contract Lawyer, with over 23 years of experience in Tier 1 and Tier 2 Construction Firms, Top Tier Private Practice and Government.

With 23+ years of experience as a Senior Lawyer, Strategic Contracting Adviser and Management Consultant in Construction Law, Contracts, Major Projects, Commercial Advisory, Compliance, Procurement, Contract Management and Risk Management, Rachelle has the rare skills to offer you seamless business advice and legal advice to help support your organisation.


As well as a Lawyer and Business Adviser, Rachelle has also acted as a Strategic Procurement Adviser, Compliance Manager, Strategic Risk Adviser and Commercial Manager.

Rachelle owns
Blaze Business & Legal, a combined Commercial Law Firm and Business Advisory Firm located in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. Blaze Business & Legal assists a broad range of clients in the Construction Industry and related industries, and advises owners, contractors, subcontractors, NFPs and other organisations on a broad range of Construction Law, Commercial Law, Business Advisory and Management Consulting issues in Brisbane, Queensland and around Australia.

Rachelle also owns Blaze Professional Learning, where she offers practical contracting skills, hands-on experience in drafting and working with contracts, and industry insights to help Professionals upskill and advance their careers with real-world skills.


And Rachelle owns Brisbane Livewell Clinic, an Allied Health, Natural Therapies and Wellness Clinic in Wavell Heights and Cannon Hill.

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