How To Manage Your Startup Shareholders

If you can't provide them with the returns they expect, small conflicts could trigger big problems in your company over time

Carl Adrian

15 Nov, 2021

How To Manage Your Startup Shareholders | BEAMSTART News

- From our Sponsors -

If you're starting a company, one of the biggest challenges ahead of you is managing your shareholders. 

Any time you offer shares in your organization, whether it’s through a crowdfunding campaign or startup equity rounds, you're opening the doors to new hurdles and opportunities alike.

Staying In Control Of Your Startup

Initially, when you have an idea for a business, you go to friends or family to ask them to invest in that idea. However, if your business takes off, there's a possibility that your startup will attract and gain investors.

If you take on a lot of investors, it becomes essential to manage them because each of them may have different rights and responsibilities. This is why many companies opt for all-in-one equity management platforms like Cake Equity to easily track and report changes in documents, communicate with stakeholders, and stay compliant with local regulations.

But if you're just beginning, how will you handle all of these responsibilities? Here are some strategies you can follow:

1. Educate Yourself About The Types Of Shareholders

The most important thing you have to keep in mind when managing stakeholders is they all have different roles. This means you should respect their rights and responsibilities accordingly. In order of priority, here are the two common types of shareholders:

  • Shareholders owning the most significant share in the startup are called majority shareholders. They usually have the most voting rights, which can make or break operational decisions. They also often will include you as the founder or any of your descendants. They often want to have a say in your business, like when replacing executives and board members.

  • On the other hand, there are minority shareholders who own less than 50% of your startup company. They can be your employees or other investors. Although they may not be essential for big decisions, they're still valuable as their votes will be tied to their own self-interest.

    It's always recommended to consult with these shareholders regularly and take their feedback into account when making decisions. Even if they don't have much power, everything that happens in your company can affect them. Thus, you may want to keep them in the loop on their investment.

2. Have A Pre-Negotiation Meeting

The next step in managing your shareholders is to discuss the basic terms that’ll govern their buy-in. Start with deciding when and where this’ll take place. Also, spend enough time with each shareholder to discuss all issues at hand without distractions. This step can be an excellent way to know whether your future partner is serious about the business or not.

While you don't necessarily need a lawyer in this meeting, it's always helpful to get some legal advice so nothing falls through the cracks. It also helps to know the kind of documents to prepare before the meeting so you can discuss matters without wasting too much time.

3. Get Agreements In Writing

This may seem obvious, but it's important enough to be worth mentioning. Whenever you have a legal agreement with an outside party, it's essential to get everything in writing to avoid misunderstandings.

You may include shareholders’ roles and responsibilities within your company in the document you’ll create. Remember that your shareholders should know what they can expect from you and vice versa. You should also mention in the document what each shareholder is responsible for and how they’re held accountable for their actions. If not, you run the risk of creating problems or arguments that may hurt your business. You can also use these agreements as a reference for future meetings.

4. Maintain Open Communication

Once you’ve negotiated successfully, make sure to establish and maintain an open communication channel between yourself and each shareholder. Be as transparent as possible with all of them. Make sure they know how their investment is doing and any changes in business strategy. This can help avoid miscommunication between you and your investors, which could result in future problems. Also, if there are disagreements, discuss them with all shareholders instead of taking unilateral action. This way, everyone is on the same page, and no one feels ignored or discriminated against.

You may also want to hold regular shareholder meetings. Even if some of your investors can't make it all the time, they still need to know that you’re keeping in regular contact. And make it a habit to provide the notice of shareholder meeting well in advance.

Lastly, be sure to implement the resolutions outlined in the meeting, even if not all shareholders agree with them. Otherwise, there could be disagreements about what happened or who voted what during the meeting.

Final Advice

One last bit of advice on managing stakeholders is understanding what your investors want out of your business. If you can't provide them with the returns they expect, small conflicts could trigger big problems in your company over time. If this does happen, remember that it's always better to have partners than have none, so try to develop a solution that works for all parties. However, if all else fails and disagreements become too frequent, you may want to consider letting go of one or more of them.

- From our Sponsors -

Latest Jobs

Business Development Intern


Damansara Uptown, Malaysia


MYR 400 — MYR 500 monthly

Quality Assurance Lead



Full Time

Salary Undisclosed

Content Writer (Esports / Gaming)


Petaling Jaya, Malaysia


MYR 400 — MYR 600 monthly

News Editor

British Broadcasting Corporation

Hong Kong, Hong Kong (香港)

Full Time

Salary Undisclosed

Full Stack Developer - Financing Domain

OnDemand Agility


Full Time

SGD 4050 — SGD 4300 monthly

EA Personnel (Work Pass)

Trinity Employment


Full Time

SGD 2000 — SGD 3500 monthly

Senior Events Manager/ Director

Thomson Reuters

Singapore , Singapore

Full Time

USD 17000 — USD 25000 monthly

Digital Marketing Intern

Undrcut Digital Marketing



SGD 1000 — SGD 1500 monthly

Influencer Marketing Associate


Yogyakarta, Indonesia

Full Time

SGD 400 — SGD 1000 monthly

English Content Writer


Jakarta, Indonesia

Full Time

SGD 300 — SGD 600 monthly

BEAMSTART is a hub for everything Startups, Entrepreneurship, and Innovation. Connect with a global community of people, and stay updated with the latest news, events, and opportunities.


Download the Community App

Connect with the BEAMSTART Entrepreneurship Community from the palm of your hands. Connect with CEOs/Founders, Investors, Business Leaders, and Professionals. Download below to instantly form partnerships and discover opportunities:

PlayStore ButtonAppStore Button

© 2016 - 2021 BEAMSTART. All Rights Reserved (Legal).