Think of equity as a new American currency. Employees today frequently expect stock options as part of their compensation mix, and service providers often take equity stakes in promising start-ups as part of their fee.
But both taking and giving equity are risky and complex propositions. In his article How to Take Stock in the November 2000 issue of Inc. magazine, Ilan Mochari shares the story of Robyn Sachs, who knows about the risk involved with taking equity for services. Sachs's PR firm, RMR and Associates, received equity for services, only to see the value of its shares plummet along with the stock market. On the flip side, The Takeover, a story from the Inc. magazine archives, highlights some of the potential pitfalls of giving equity as compensation.
Given the risks involved, how does a business owner give or take equity wisely? This guide uncovers inc.com's best resources on this complex subject.
Put It in Writing
If you're sealing your deals with a handshake, beware. When it comes to handing out equity, putting the details in writing is always your best bet.
- Granting Options Like It's 1999
- New rules do little to dampen private companies' use of stock options.
- Valuing Private Company Stock
- How many shares should you issue? How do you price them? It all depends on what you're up to.
- Avoid Being Stuck by Stock
- Giving equity can be a great way for small, growing companies to recruit and keep talented workers. But if you grant stock, without writing sound shareholder agreements, you could be setting yourself up for trouble.
- Hot Tip: Stock Options
- Worried that employees will use the proceeds from their equity stakes in your business to start their own businesses? Here's one entrepreneur's approach.
Equity as Compensation for Service Providers
Before you take part of your fee in equity -- or offer equity in lieu of cash to a service provider -- make sure the deal makes sense for your company.
Equity as Compensation for Employees
Read on to discover strategies for giving equity -- or equity-like -- compensation to employees.
- The Ultimate Employee Buy-in
- Sell the company to your employees? It's a great idea--both for you and for the business you're leaving behind.