What is the Entrepreneur 4S Test and what does it mean for your business? The Entrepreneur 4S Test is a quick, 1 minute quiz designed to give entrepreneurs insight into the strengths and weaknesses of their business. Individual feedback is provided according to the attributes of being Sane, Smart, Scalable, and Sustainable. That is the 4Ss of the 4S Test. But this isn’t a one size fits all thing. There are actually 3 quizzes, developed with different questions according to the status of the entrepreneurship experience. We’ll cover that, but first let’s explain in more detail what is meant by being Sane, Smart, Scalable, and Sustainable.
Explaining the 4Ss
To understand what is the 4S test, let’s explain the 4Ss. Of course, you know what the words Sane, Smart, Scalable, and Sustainable mean. How they apply to the entrepreneurship experience is a whole other thing. Read on to understand what this means for you as a business owner, and some examples.
It’s a cliche to say that business owners work more hours than employees. It doesn’t help when a CEO boasts that his success is from working 95 hours a week. Um, what? That isn’t sane. Or even possible, if you are involved in raising children. Burnout for entrepreneurs is a real thing. Happily, there is a cultural shift underway which supports a more sane schedule – boundaries between work and life, a 4 day work week, productivity over hours. The S for Sane is about being an entrepreneur who balances health, wellness, and fun with a thriving, profitable business.
The old adage “work smarter, not harder” is Truth. Being smart as an entrepreneur basically means researching to develop a plan, establishing meaningful metrics, and monitoring on a regular basis. This is more than marketing ROI and profit margins – it’s also managing administrative paperwork, reports, and government filings. An example of not being smart is losing the domain name for the website you have on all your marketing material – true story! The S for Smart is about running your business with efficiency, effectiveness, and minimising risk.
Every new business needs to scale. You may not want to go global or even open a second location. But if you want to expand your revenue and sales beyond what you are doing now, then you need to scale. This could mean making your first hire, or growing your staff. Being scalable is more than people. It’s about the supply chain, technology, and processes of your business, and whether it is ready to grow by 10% or 100% – whatever your goals are. The S for Scalable is whether the structure and systems, policies and procedures of your business can support growth.
Something which seems like a great idea today may not be possible tomorrow, and the day after. Sustainability is about whether something can be duplicated or maintained over a long period of time. Effective marketing requires repetition, and consistency builds consumer trust and keeps customers coming back. Activities, actions, processes – all must be reviewed and assessed from an operational and cost perspective to see if they are sustainable.
A great example comes from a coffee chat over coffee many years ago. I was networking with a woman who was building a house cleaning business in a different part of town. She wanted to provide a unique experience to boost loyalty and referrals. Her idea was to purchase flowers and leave one at each house on cleaning day so her customer would come home to a clean house AND fresh flowers.
This all sounds great, until you think through how sustainable that is. She spent a couple of hours a day buying a bouquet and driving to 3-4 houses a just think how much time she will spend when she doubles her clients. What valuable business building work could she be doing instead of scheduling her whole day around delivering flowers. What if clients are allergic? Or the family cat jumps on the counter to take a nibble and gets sick? The S for Sustainable is analysing the risk, reward, and return of the operations and tactics of your business to see if it makes sense to continue in the long term.
Which Entrepreneur 4S Test is right for me?
If you are wondering which quiz is best suited to your circumstances, this explains the focus of each specific quiz. Understand which one best applies to you and get personalised results to help you be a better entrepreneur.
A Newbie can be any age or stage. You could be fresh out of school and starting your first venture. Or, you could be doing a mid-career or post-pandemic shift to pursue a long-held dream of running your own business. Maybe you are a seasoned entrepreneur, starting in a new sector. In any case, a Newbie is facing a learning curve and lots of decisions. This is a critical time to think through all aspects of strategy and operations. The best ideas still need the numbers crunched, a targeted marketing funnel, and an aligned customer experience journey. If you are in the building stages of a new business, take the Newbie 4S Test as a checklist to see that you are covering all the bases.
Being Wobbly happens to the best of us. From icons in a local community to multinational corporations, the life cycle of a business includes rough patches. There are countless challenges – shifting market conditions, new competitors, supplier disruptions, changing legislation or labour laws. There are also all the internal challenges, like staffing issues, poor quality or productivity, or technology issues. In 2023 we are dealing with post-pandemic recovery and all the impacts of extended lockdowns and changed consumer behaviour. However, hitting a Wobbly stage in business is not new, and there are many inspiring stories of how businesses pivoted, redesigned, and restructured to again become thriving and profitable. If you are unhappy with your revenue, profit margin, performance metrics, or just overall not feeling satisfied and happy with your business, then take the Wobbly 4S Test to guide you to where you can start making changes.
Many entrepreneurs choose franchising, and with good reason. Being part of a franchise system gives you a tried and true turn-key system to follow. Our daily lives usually means buying from a franchise, from our morning coffee shop to ordering in dinner. The economic output of franchised business in the USA is more than $790 billion a year. However, investing in a franchise does not guarantee success. There are varying statistics measuring franchisee failure rates, but the point is that franchises do fail. If you are not happy with the performance of your franchised business, or not getting the support and training you need, then take the Franchisee 4S Test to get direction on what to focus on to turn things around.
Understanding what is the 4S Test
As explained above, the 4S Test is useful tool to reveal strengths and weaknesses in a business. No matter your age or stage, this quick 1 minute quiz can provide you with direction and guidance on what to focus on so you can be a better entrepreneur.