Managing a Business/company shares


Hello, David E. Coffman

I recently started working for a start-up company as a web developer.

Since it is a start-up the pay is not that great, but I was given company shares as 'payment'.

I do not have a business degree nor knowledge of shares/stocks.

So, what exactly can I do with these shares?

How can I generate wealth with the shares?

Thank you

I am in the US so my answers may not be fully applicable to Canada. Once you are a shareholder you have certain rights which in the US are governed by state corporation laws and the company's shareholders agreement. As a shareholder you are entitled to a copy of this agreement. If there isn't one you should request that one be drafted. You should read it, especially the section regarding sales or transfers of shares and how the price will be determined.

You are typically restricted to selling your shares only back to the company under the the terms of the agreement. If the company is sold or goes public you are entitled to a share of the proceeds. The wealth created by owning the shares is determined by the success and value of the company which is largely outside your control.

Right now there is little you can do with them. If you leave the company you will probably have to sell your shares back to the company per the agreement. If the company is successful and grows in value, so will the value of your shares.  

Managing a Business

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David E. Coffman CPA/ABV, CVA


General questions about small business management, planning, and measuring and improving business performance. Specific questions about what a business is worth.


Certified Public Accountant, Accredited in Business Valuation (ABV) and Certified Valuation Analyst (CVA). Over 30 years experience advising, owning and operating small businesses. Specializing in business valuation and innovative consulting services for small businesses since 1997.

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