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When to Share a Piece of the Pie Does it make sense to trade ownership for services?

By Gwen Moran

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Tony Marrero was ready to grow his fledgling Columbia, Mo., soccer apparel and equipment company, SoccerPro.com. So he did what any spunky entrepreneur does: He visited his local bank. And the banker laughed at him.

"He started to giggle when I sat down and talked to him," Marrero says. "That was the environment we had to deal with."

So, he improvised for a while and then connected with a local company, Growth Partner, which invests both capital and services in exchange for equity within the company. In 2007, they struck a deal and, in exchange for a 9 percent stake in the company, Growth Partner committed to provide services such as online marketing over a period of years. The company gains a greater stake in SoccerPro.comas various sales and growth levels are met, capping at a 33 percent ownership, as well as a back-end share of profits.