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The How of Business: 4S Transform Principles to Help Businesses Grow

How the 4S Transform Principles Evolved

When the COVID-19 epidemic sent everyone home, I found that I was no longer an "essential" person in my company, Micro-Ant. I thought this was good news! For the first time in a long time I felt that the company could run even without me. It was sustainable without me. Sitting at home with my dog, Layla, and time on my hands that I was unaccustomed to having, I decided to write down how I got to this point. What did I do that lead to success? What have I learned along the way?

As I wrote out the lessons from starting my business, a pattern formed. There were four main principles that were foundational to all our stages of growth. These four principles reinforced each other. The most successful managers in my team had significant strengths in multiple aspects of these four principles. I decided to call them the 4S's: Salability, Sensibility, Sustainability and Scalability.

I've always been available to coach and advise new entrepreneurs and soon I began to pull from my 4S Transform to help me structure the business growth advice I gave them.


Discussing the 4S Transform on the How of Business Podcast

Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with Henry Lopez on the How of Business Podcast.

Henry is a serial entrepreneur and small business coach and consultant and he wanted to dive right into how the 4S Transform could be applied by founders, CEOs, and entrepreneurs to help growth their businesses. His thought provoking questions pushed me to think more critically about how the personal character of leaders relates to the last two principles of the 4S Transform: Scalability and Sustainability.


Stimulated by our discussion, I wanted to dive in deeper and describe some of the ideas born from the podcast with Henry Lopez.

4S Transform Principle #1: Salability

Salability is the quality of a business that makes others want to transact with it and see the value in its offerings. It is founded on the character of the individuals who lead the company and the people who serve the customers. People chose who to buy from and who to work with for many reasons but at the core are trust and likeability. Trust is built on competence and integrity. Likeability is about enthusiasm and caring. As a founder, you will be depending on your salability not only to sell your product or service but also to hire and lead your team.

A leader is simply someone others are willing to follow. To follow you they need to trust and like you.

4S Transform Principle #2: Sensibility

Sensibility is the quality of being aware. There are many things a business needs to be be aware of including:

  • The character of your employees and your customers

  • The direction of the industry

  • The feedback of your customers

  • The risks that could damage your company

  • The sentiment and attitude of your employees (culture)

Your company is aware and sensible when your leaders are able to put aside their ego and listen impartially and without defensiveness to feedback. When the founder and leaders continue to ask questions and stay curious about how things are working and are willing to dive into problems to understand their root causes. If your company is sensible then you will be able to continue serving your customers even when the industry shifts and the expectations change. Your offerings will improve and increase because you will be open to more ideas. Your risks will decrease because you will be open to perceiving problems (including your own mistakes) and learning from them.

A business that is aware and learning is going to be able to grow faster and with less risk.

For the longest time, I struggled to articulate the personal character qualities that are needed for a company to be sustainable. Henry Lopez pushed me to think more critically. I think you will find this to be a helpful.

Personal character of the founder and leaders is at the core of the business. The 4S transform highlights which character traits are the most important for starting and growing a successful business.
The 4S Transform Principles for Starting and Growing Your Business

4S Transform Principle #3: Sustainability

Sustainability is achieved in a business when you can operate as a team and not rely on any one person. The founder of the company has to be able to let go of their individual contribution and dependence on them and focus on enabling others through coaching, encouragement, goal setting, processes and the like.

Teamwork is at the heart of their mindset and character. But teamwork is a difficult character trait to describe succinctly because there are also many abilities and skills that play into it. In my experience, as long as the leader is to be able to trust others and communicate effectively, other teamwork skills can be learned.

4S Transform Principle #4: Scalability

Scalability is what is necessary for a company to grow. It is the ability to increase quantity and output without affecting the quality of the product and service. Growing without diluting. At the heart of a business's scalability is a dedication to quality and consistency across the team.

Yes, a growing business also requires that process, plans, systems and other tools are put in place so that many people can do their jobs together effectively and towards the same goals. This requires the leadership team of a growing business to care about staying organized and have the discipline of using processes and systems. However, we all know companies that have cookie cutter processes and cookie cutter locations but no soul. Thus, process and systems is not enough to scale without losing quality in products and services.

Great culture fostering a collective attitude of service and quality amongst all employees is the linchpin of repeatable but not cookie cutter products and services.

If you're able to apply the last of the 4S Transform Principles to scale your business, then the trust of your customer will grow. Your brand will stand for quality even as your reach increases. Your salability will grow. This is why I represent the 4S Transform as a cycle, each principle reinforcing the next and leading to the next level of growth.


If you want to learn more about how the 4S Transform can help you grow your business watch the 4S Transform Workshop from the I-MEC 2022 conference. We asked successful inventors and entrepreneurs what they thought were the most important principles for growing your business and captured their ideas into the workshop.


More about Henry Lopez and the How of Business Podcast

Henry is a serial entrepreneur, small business coach and consultant, and host of top-rated The How of Business podcast show. Henry has over 36 years of diverse business experience, including successful careers in the information technology industry, sales, sales training and business ownership. Henry has been involved in 12 different businesses, since buying his first business in 1991. Henry has bought and sold businesses and has also developed his own new businesses, including franchises. His businesses span various industries including restaurants, real estate investments, salon suites, software, travel, shared office space & coworking, car washing, and small business coaching and consulting. Henry currently resides in Jensen Beach, Florida with his wife Pam.

He is currently the Managing Partner of Levante Business Group (supporting entrepreneurs and small business owners and producers of The How of Business podcast), co-owner of L3 Destinations (a Travel Agency co-founded with his wife), and a minority partner and investor in Office Evolution of Plantation (an executive suites and co-working business center franchise location).

Henry is also an E-Leap Collaborator and serves as a volunteer SCORE Mentor.


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