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Business formation: that ever-important foundational agreement

The corporate counterpart to a prenuptial agreement?

OK, we'll go with that. It's the introductory point made in one instructive online overview of business shareholder and partnership agreements, and it does indeed convey that, to some extent, many small- and medium-sized businesses in Ohio and elsewhere are like marriage.

That is, a successful conclusion to both a marital union and a business relationship requires some serious upfront risk assessment, coupled with steps taken to ensure that everybody is on the same page. The requisite work done proactively that focuses on future contingencies and mutually beneficial conclusions goes far toward ensuring just such an outcome.

Although not every would-be spouse requires a contract, of course, the same cannot be said for business partners embarked on a new endeavor. In fact, a shareholders agreement is a vitally important document for setting forth key concepts, expectations and processes relevant to what is deemed important for a new enterprise.

And, thus, it needs to be properly and comprehensively attended to, through careful negotiation and drafting, as well as with an eye on future change.

Which is inevitable.

"[T]he one constant in business is change," notes the above-cited business article, which is a flat business fact underscoring the importance of painstakingly careful preparation being taken at the very outset of any new business relationship.

At the well-established business and commercial law firm of Gottschlich & Portune, LLP, in Dayton, our seasoned attorneys pay exacting attention to the details that need to be addressed and clearly set forth in foundational contracts such as shareholder agreements.

We centrally imply on a relevant page of our website that shareholder and partnership agreements are the glue that holds together business understandings. As such, they often broadly "lay out policies on buy-ins, buy-outs, operations, financial responsibility, liabilities and other issues."

Our firm represents all parties in shareholder-related and other business matters, from contractual drafting to dispute resolution. We welcome readers' questions and the opportunity to deliver top-notch legal advocacy on behalf of company principals seeking best-case business outcomes.

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