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 personal shortcomings, 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, which he continues to own to this day. 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.
Since implementing EOS® in his own business, Michael now has a strong and unified Leadership Team who manages the day-to-day operations of the business, which has freed him from the overwhelming control the business had been having over his life. With that newfound freedom, Michael has been able 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”.
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.
A lifelong entrepreneur, Sandy is passionate about helping companies discover, live, and grow their culture as the foundation for a healthy business and team. Since she founded her strategic PR Firm, Sandy has helped her client companies grow in a number of B2B sectors—commercial real estate, manufacturing, technology, financial services, professional services, healthcare, and food. Her focus on helping CEOs of privately held companies discover, articulate and live their vision, mission, and values inspired her to create an online culture assessment and write a book, Companies Are People, Too: Discover, Develop, and Grow Your Company’s Personality, which was published by John Wiley & Sons.
While serving as President of the Columbus Chapter of the Entrepreneur’s Organization, Sandy discovered EOS and used it as the foundation for the chapter’s first long-term strategic plan. As a result, she and several entrepreneurs on the EO board began implementing EOS in their own companies. After witnessing the transformation of her own company with EOS, she became committed to use it to help other entrepreneurs get the most from their journey by gaining clarity, alignment, process, and a healthy leadership team. As she learned first-hand, entrepreneurs whose businesses run on EOS can get what they want from their business, including freedom to live the life they want.
Sandy has roots in the “wild west” where she grew up as an Air Force brat. She lives in Columbus, OH and works with entrepreneurs wherever her EOS journey takes her. She enjoys connecting friends through food, stories, laughter, travel, golf and the Buckeyes. She has been recognized by the National Association of Women Business Owners’ Visionary Award and was named a finalist in the EY Entrepreneur of the Year award. She is a charter member of Women President’s Organization and served on the board for the Columbus Entrepreneur’s Organization. Sandy was named a semifinalist in Inc. Magazine’s Marketing Masters Awards for her development of Companies Are People, Too.
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. Her work with SMART Direction will leverage these roles to help companies define, improve and document core processes, create measurables to build accountability to those processes, and improve bottom line performance.
A Green Belt in Lean principles guides Heidi in identifying waste and problem solving for teams and helping create value for clients. She helps companies 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 and SMART Direction LLC founder, Michael Erath, have developed a Proven Process to help clients Define, Refine and Document their Core Processes over an intense 2-day workshop which Heidi facilitates “on site” at the client’s location. The end result of the 2-day workshop is a full mapping of all of the organizations Core Processes, with refinements and identified cost savings as well as assigned ownership of every step of every process. Let Heidi do the work for you, so that your teams can stay focused on executing your day-to-day business.
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 Core Processes Workshop.