I started a company in India in June of 2012 focusing on Web & Mobile App Outsourcing Space. In past 1 year we have grown to revenue of $1M+ and we are expanding fast. The company is bootstrapped and I am its sole share holder.
Last month, we entered into a referral agreement with one of our clients to whom we offered a recurring kick back from each referral. Its only been a few days and he has already referred us to some pretty large companies and I think we will start closing some of that business very soon.
This guy is quite influential and now he said he wants to talk about a more strategic partnership where he wants to have shares in our company and says that he can take us to the next level and get us very high volume business. I think he may be looking for our US representation or, an advisory role.
I am not sure how to structure this or, whether its a good idea at all. Looking forward for some directions and help.
I certainly wouldn't offer him any equity after just a few good days of referrals - especially since it seems you haven't yet closed any of that business.
There are many different ways you could do this. I suggest you read this: http://thestartuptoolkit.com/blog/2013/02/equity-basics-vesting-cliffs-acceleration-and-exits/ and if you really believe he is worthy of equity consider working out a deal where you set aside a certain amount of stock for him, then set up an agreement based on triggers and/or vesting.
Just be careful. You don't want to give him equity on the assumption that he will stay with you and be great - only to have him walk away with his equity after the ink is dry.
Not a fan of equity. It's cheap, but so difficult to manage. Maybe provide a profit sharing monthly or quarterly. Could be based on revenues or net sales.
If you do use equity, what happens if the person goes away? Is it voting stock or common? Can you buy it back? Do they have the right to block you issuing / diluting your shares?
I think its never a bad idea to get some money flowing into your business. You can use this money for further expansion and take your company to the next level. However it is important to clarify the terms of agreement with the prospective partner (in your case the influential guy). There are a lot of points you need to keep in mind before venturing into this like
You can consider making him a representative of your organization in other countries, where he can tap in the business and you can complete the projects at offshore.
All said, in the end it depends upon the rapport you share with that guy and if you really want to work with him in the future because this surely is going to be long term.