Eric Skoog | Crain's Phoenix

In this ongoing series, we ask executives, entrepreneurs and business leaders about mistakes that have shaped their business philosophy.

Eric Skoog

Background:  

Sunvek Roofing offers residential and commercial re-roofing and maintenance services to thousands of customers across the Valley. The company has 25 employees and performed more than 600 jobs last year in the Phoenix area.

The Mistake:

We didn't have a written agreement on how to split up if someone decided to leave the company.

A significant mistake I made occurred when we started our roofing company. My brothers and I were partners. At the outset, we didn’t realize that the best thing you can do when you start a company is have some sort of written agreement on how you’re going to split up if someone decides they want to leave the company, or in the event that things don’t work out.

In our case, because we didn’t have such an agreement when the time came that partners, or shareholders, wanted to leave, we had to figure out an equitable way to satisfy their desire to get some compensation – get their shares purchased. We had to find a way for them to move on, without affecting the shareholders or owners who remained.

It was a difficult process and caused some strained relations for a period of time.

When you go into a new venture, the most important part is to try to figure out exits for those involved.

The Lesson:

I learned from that. When you go into a new venture, the most important part is to try to figure out exits for those involved, in the event that it doesn’t work out, or if they want to move on.

If you have that agreement in place beforehand, it sure takes care of a lot of grief and anguish and helps make sure that everyone is happy because they agreed in advance.

You need to have a contract in writing, or some framework of an agreement, regarding how you will approach the disposition of assets or the departure of a shareholder/investor.

Follow Sunvek Roofing on Twitter at @sunvekroofing.

Photo Courtesy of Erik Skoog

Do you have a good story you’d like to share, or know someone we should feature? Email nryan@crain.com.

And be sure to sign up for your local newsletter from Crain's Phoenix.