“Michael is one of our best EOS Implementers. What makes him great is that he has lived everything he teaches. His story is a great one and he is a true class act.”
– Gino Wickman, Author of Traction and Creator of EOS®
Having grown up in a family manufacturing business which he grew from $8 to $18MM in 10 years as CEO, Michael Erath has spent his entire career in the trenches of the entrepreneurial world. He also co-founded a Hardwood Timber Trading Company in 1999 which grew from start-up to a $27MM business in 2007. Since 2003 he has been an active member of several business peer groups – YPO, where he spent 9 years in Forum as a member of the Southern 7 Chapter; EO, where he continues his Forum experience as a member of the Arizona Chapter to this day; and Vistage, where he was a member of a Trusted Advisors Group in Columbus, Ohio.
When the housing market crashed in 2009, Michael lost everything. Due to a combination of declining sales, betrayals from key staff, and his own blind spots, Michael went from owning two multi-million-dollar businesses to almost destroying his marriage, losing his home and companies, and struggling to make ends meet. But he didn’t let failure keep him down. Instead, he learned from his mistakes and rose back to success. In 2010, Michael leveraged everything he had and started a new manufacturing business. In early 2014, an EO colleague introduced Michael to the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS®) by way of the book TRACTION. In EOS®, for the first time in his 20-year career, Michael found a simplified, holistic system that created a perfect framework with which to operate his business.
By implementing EOS® in his own business, Michael built a strong and unified Leadership Team who became capable of managing the day-to-day operations of the business, which freed him from the overwhelming control the business had been having over his life. With that newfound freedom, Michael was able to step away from the business to pursue his greatest passion, which is to work with fellow entrepreneurs to help them strengthen their businesses by implementing the Entrepreneurial Operating System as a Certified EOS Implementer. To do so, he founded SMART Direction in 2015 and now works full-time with leadership teams of entrepreneurial companies from SMART Direction’s Phoenix-based “Dojo”, also known as The Traction Hub.
Michael’s journey inspired him to help others avoid the mistakes he made by writing his first book, RISE: The Reincarnation of an Entrepreneur. In RISE, Michael recounts his remarkable story with brutal honesty and self-reflection. He demonstrates how systemizing a business and building healthy, open, and honest leadership teams can help business leaders free themselves from the control their business has over them and find time to pursue other passions. He calls it Entrepreneurial Freedom – Getting out of your own way and living your ideal life with a business that you own, rather than a business that owns you.
Michael lives in Phoenix with his wife Elizabeth and their French Bulldog, Rocco. They have two adult sons.
Heidi Berger brings to SMART Direction and its EOS® clients a passion for analytics and helping businesses understand the “why” behind solutions. Heidi has spent her career analyzing and improving operations for companies in a variety of industries, with over 10 years at P.F. Chang’s, where she held roles as VP of Planning and Analysis, VP of Financial Operations and Risk, and most recently VP of Business Transformation. Heidi has also been in a variety of senior management roles in retail, distribution and restaurant firms where she focused on Finance, Operations, Risk, Treasury and Supply Management. Her roles have helped C-suite leaders guide strategy and make better decisions while also helping coach and mentor those directly affecting the customer. Heidi has a gift for translating the complex nature of numbers and analysis into meaningful, actionable ideas that can be executed. As an EOS® Implementer, she leverages her vast experience from these roles to help companies implement EOS®.
In addition to her work as an EOS® Implementer, Heidi, who is also a Green Belt in Lean principles helps entrepreneurial businesses achieve operational excellence in their core processes to optimize execution. Creating scorecards and dashboards are key drivers in her approach. As a Certified Management Accountant with an MBA in International Operations, Heidi’s has both the intellectual capacity and the real-world experience to bring meaningful, detailed change to SMART Direction’s clients and strengthen their EOS® Implementation.
Heidi splits her time between Scottsdale, Arizona and Hotchkiss, Colorado with her husband, their draft horse hitch and dogs. She is available to travel to any US destination.
With a diverse background, both in a large corporate environment and small company setting, Dorothy brings things together behind the scenes at Smart Direction. Her enthusiasm to go beyond expectations is what drives her to be the rockstar right-hand woman needed to ensure the business’s seamless proceedings.
EOS®, the Entrepreneurial Operating System, is a complete set of simple concepts and practical tools that has helped thousands of entrepreneurs get what they want from their businesses.
Define and document your core processes or refine and improve your processes with the help of a tenured “Lean” professional with this 2 day SMART Direction Process Optimizer™.