A stakeholder is a person or group with an interest in a company. Employees, stockholders, investors, lenders, suppliers and customers are all stakeholders, although they have varied interests that connect them to the business. Stakeholders become involved to share in and benefit from the business’s successes; in their supporting role, they may become decision makers.
Balancing differing stakeholder interests is an essential part of running a small business, because stakeholders can influence the business’s direction. Investors have an expectation of returns on investment, and they may want to have a say in matters of company management and decision making. Conflicts can arise when lenders expect the business to run a tight budget, but employee stakeholders expect fair compensation for their loyal service.