Family businesses face challenges that are different from those of non-family owned companies. Governance, organizational structure, conflict and communication, and succession planning are a few of the issues that require a family-centered set of solutions. In order to effect positive change, an outside consultant must be highly competent, trustworthy, and sensitive to family dynamics.
Laura Michaud of The Michaud Group is all that, and more. As a third-generation owner of a large family business, Beltone Electronics Corporation, Laura knows first-hand how family dynamics can impact results: During her nearly 20-year tenure at the company, she grew sales by more than 300% and was training to take over the leadership when the family determined it was best to sell the business for estate reasons.
Since starting her family business consulting practice in 1998, Laura has been helping families in business together work more cohesively, make transitions easier, and communicate more effectively in order to bridge the communication gap and ensure that the legacy stays alive. Laura's approach is hands-on, but her ultimate goal is to give family members the tools and skills they need to achieve success for the long-term.
Laura possesses three skills that are critical for family business consulting:
Laura's process is straightforward. She starts by listening, intently and confidentially, to everyone with a stake in the business. She goes immediately to the heart of the matter, identifying issues but also pointing out strengths and qualities. An experienced advisor, she brings objectivity to the discussion while inspiring trust and creating a safe environment in which the family feels comfortable sharing and working through issues -- in a resolution-oriented setting.
Laura's consulting services usually take the form of an assessment, recommendation, and implementation activity. Under specific circumstances where the defined goals might be more pointed, Laura may proceed differently.
A full business assessment – Business family members are aware of the challenges they face, but often are impeded in how to tackle them by a number of factors, including family dynamics. Laura brings an objective eye to the process, helping the family fully understand the situation at a macro level. The comprehensive assessment may include:
Plan Implementation – Whether she works alone or with a team of consultants whenever needed (estate attorneys, accountants, financial planners, and therapists among others), Laura is able to guide the family to the appropriate solutions. Areas of work may include:
Respect and trust are two strong tenets on which Laura's work is based, but it is her personal touch, her ability to communicate effectively with everyone, and quick grasp of solutions that work, which makes her work so effective through coaching, mentoring, mediation, and collaborative efforts. Laura's directness, quickness on her feet, and knowledge of how to work in tense situations, are the surest way to a favorable outcome.
Laura provides a safe, trusting environment in which she:
Laura has lived the life of a family business member—being the third generation owner in her family business, Beltone Electronics. When her family decided to sell the business for estate reasons in 1997, she knew what she was driven to do next: help other family businesses find success through their own transitions.
And so, The Michaud Group was born. She knows first-hand the intricacies of what it means to be in business with your kin. She understands the good as well as the unpleasant. And she has dedicated her life to making sure families succeed—both in business and in each member's life.
Laura has been in your shoes. Since opening her consulting business in 1998, Laura has helped thousands of family businesses across many industries. She knows the joys that come from overcoming challenges and managing and growing wealth. And she greatly cares about helping you achieve the right balance of business success and family harmony.
Laura understands better than anyone the multi-faceted dynamics of families working together. It is that strong personal connection that makes her such a valuable partner.