“I refused to step on the same rake.”— Sergei N Freiman
The Problem we’re solving
Professional services firms struggle and often fail due to the quality of marketing decisions. We challenge you to take a new approach, avoid the tempting rake, and start making prudent business decisions by aligning three key constituents.
The core idea comes from Sergei N Freiman who had devoted 16 years to business development. His carrer path led him to work in the US, Central & Eastern Europe and CIS for small local businesses and a mid-size international corporation. He was also lucky enough to co-found and manage five different businesses.
All of this allowed him to gain experience in multiple industries: construction, real estate, manufacturing, distribution, wholesale, retail, entertainment, web design and marketing. This broad exposure led him to the following observations.
Whatever the market, whatever the industry, whatever the size of the company, whatever the competence of the executives, whatever the budget — when it comes to making a business decision it all boils down to three paths.
Decision makers either flee, freeze or fight. The former two options rarely have any positive outcomes in business. The latter — confronting the problem — often produces poor results. A good business decision is a rare gem despite the fact that many companies had gone through similar problems, and viable solutions aren’t kept secret.
Most unfortunate is that the more times principals make a bad decision the more resistant they get to making the next one. With little motivation to move forward things spiral downward. Decisions stop being made. The inevitable ones meet internal resistance producing inferior results.
Companies loose momentum, loose the propelling juice of enthusiasm. Depression kicks in. All initiatives seem futile from the get-go.
Sergei thought there must be a better way to make good business decisions. It can’t be the case that key decision makers are bound to keep stepping on the same rake over and over again.
Sergei had a hunch — there must be some kind of a higher order principle at play. Something overlooked. Something that would allow principals to approach their business problems differently.
It can’t be about learning and memorizing all the outdated case studies. It can’t be about following in other’s footsteps in an ever-changing marketplace. But it must be about learning how to find missing links — an alignment of something important.
To dig deeper Sergei decided to compare his personal observations with theory and data. He went on to read best-selling business literature from renowned authors on marketing, branding, positioning, management, strategy, selling and thinking. He also looked into research from reputable consulting firms.
All of it confirmed — the problem was (still is) there. 70% of executives believe their company’s strategic business decisions are of poor quality. Less than half think decisions were made timely. And approximately 60% are sure the time was spent ineffectively.
None of the suggested solutions seemed to nail the problem completely.
The A-ha! moment
Reading one of the classics — The Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne — Sergei came across an intriguing chapter about alignment of values, people and profits. Backed by case studies of well-known companies the authors suggested it was key to a sustainable blue ocean strategy.
This was the A-ha! moment for Sergei.
He had found the missing principle of making better business decisions. And so the Swan-Crawfish-Pike model was born.
SCP model born
Sergei spent three years working on the new model prior to its introduction in 2022. In a nutshell, the Swan-Crawfish-Pike model is about finding an alignment between all three pillars: stakeholders (S), clients (C) and profits (P).
The model helps you identify the ways of making a good business decision. If all three pillars check out — you have a making of a good business decision. If not — you don’t.
Once you learn how to apply the model to your business problems you will get better at making key decisions. As a byproduct you will also experience positive emotions (pursuit of a meaningful goal) and create an upward spiral (positive feedback loop).
The why it works is simple enough. Some call it synergy, we call it TwigSap — the whole is greater than the sum of all parts.
Follow this link to learn about the SCP model and how to use it at your own firm.
The biggest impact
The next question was — where would this new model have the biggest impact. We went back to research and discovered something rather unexpected.
Executives of professional services firms where tasked to list their top 10 biggest challenges. Turns out half of the most challenging problems are related to Clients: getting new business, getting more clients, getting better paying clients, creating more value to clients, exceeding client expectations, meeting clients’ demands, etc. Other top ten challenges neatly split into two equally sized groups: Stakeholders and Profits.
Not only do the three pillars (SCP) create the biggest challenges for executives, their misalignment result in low quality business decisions.
Since the majority of the toughest challenges are client related we have decided to focus our efforts on Marketing. Specifically — on helping our clients with the most important decisions such as positioning, differentiation, mission, vision, purpose, target market identification, competitive landscape, lead gen, service offerings and messaging.
For that we have developed several solutions such as The Magic Marketing Wand.
Professional services firms
Making better business decisions is tightly linked to being competent both at a particular craft and at business in general. Which market should we focus on — was our next question. Who would benefit most from our marketing solutions based on the SCP model?
Industries built around strategic competitive advantage outside of pure competence weren’t in our focus. Manufacturers will succeed if they attain the economies of scale. Retailers will carve out a niche if they have exclusive access to limited supplies. Local service providers will do great when they match their area of reach to customer expectations.
We want to help competent experts such as architects, engineers, contractors, accountants, lawyers, recruiters, creatives and entertainment specialists who aren’t bound by distance to their clients, don’t own a natural gas deposit, have no means to build a gigafactory and haven’t signed an exclusive distribution agreeement.
We aim at working with professional services firms that believe in doing the best work for their clients who willingly pay more for deep expertise.
The key to their success? — Competence.