Archive | Small Business Success

Don’t give them a freebie

The title of this blog is a something I tell new Magnus staff when trying to explain the need to do their job with as near perfection as is humanly possible. Don’t give the client anything to complain about – that’s the goal. Not that there won’t be any complaints, but make them about things […]

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Decades ago, Magnus had an employee who believed she could learn only as a result of making mistakes. She assured David and me, upon making mistake after mistake, that she never made the same mistake twice; rather, she made new mistakes that she truly believed were acceptable. Needless to say, we were quite relieved when […]

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The Law of Perpetual Motion

Busy seems to beget busy. And sometimes that “busy” maybe just doing things when time is seemingly available to fill the time. Then, when doing those things, real work happens. For example, a few weeks ago, I attempted to arrange a client meeting in Miami. Nothing happened, the scheduling just didn’t come together and it […]

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I don’t know if my perception is accurate, but it sure seems like not much happens when David and I are sitting around the office, wondering when our next case will come in. We have countless examples of “the law of perpetual motion” in our business lives, from the time, early in our owning Magnus, […]

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Busy is Good!

Being busy is a good thing when you own your own business, law practice, etc. I find it interesting, though, that other people do not share my perspective. From time to time, when speaking with someone who doesn’t quite appreciate that busy is good, I try to understand why. When this happens, the person to […]

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Busy is good. In fact, being busy is great! As the co-owner of a business, I am keenly aware that the only way we can survive, in the long term, is by being busy more often than not having work to do. Of course, as in most businesses, our work volume ebbs and flows, often […]

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Cream & Sugar

Recently, I met a client/friend, or perhaps friend/client for “coffee.” Coffee is in quotes because I rarely drink it; I ordered iced tea. Here’s what went down. Robert asked for a coffee, with a little room for cream. The barista dude said “We only provide milk products for our lattes and cappuccinos. Our brewed coffee […]

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Readers of David’s and my posts often remark to me that they wonder when, or if, we will ever deplete our supply of topics about which to write. I believe this is highly doubtful, due to the colorful lives we live and our unique ways of looking at the world around us. Who would have […]

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“You’re Making Me Look Bad” (Because I Didn’t Read the Contract)

More often than one may think, I’ve been told by attorneys, who are the majority of our clients, that they never read our contract. This usually emerges when some detail “surprises” them. Yes, they received and later signed the contract to authorize our work. Yet, they often indicate that they did not see or understand […]

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It has been my experience, more often than not, when someone says “You’re making me look bad,” it is actually the case that the person saying this is making himself/herself look bad. Think about it. How many times has someone else made you look bad? Looking bad is something most people can do on their […]

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The Social Psychology of Etiquette

This third post in a series about good manners, courtesy, and kindness combines my education, training, and experience as a social psychologist with something with which I have always been fascinated: etiquette. Unlike almost everyone else I know, I love the rules of etiquette and I try, diligently, to follow them in everything I do. […]

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Melissa is much more of a student of, and teacher of, etiquette than am I. And she has taught me a thing or two in this regard over the past 30+ years. But, I had some other good teachers, including my mother, and another person about whom I wrote previously, Jon Peters. Jon corrected me […]

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Life and Work – Have Fun When You Can

This concept presents itself in many ways. The saying “life is short, eat dessert first” is one way. But, aside from that, building fun into “the plan” is one benefit of operating a small business. While we’ve written things along these lines in the past, recent discussions with family and friends are reminders of the […]

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I can’t begin to count the number of times David’s mother, Carole, said, “Have fun!” when David and I were leaving her house to meet with a prospective client (the opposite of having fun, in my opinion); conducting mock jury research (very stressful and hard work, involving long hours); selecting a jury (the ultimate stressful […]

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Return calls, Reply to emails, Be courteous

Many things in the lives of adults are related to the way in which we were brought up as children. If, for example, someone was taught by his/her parents to prefer Fords over Chevys, or to cheer for the Pittsburgh Pirates instead of the Boston Red Sox, these long standing habits are likely to be […]

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Melissa approaches the topic of “Return calls, Reply to emails, Be courteous” as an etiquette issue, and it is. Working for and with trial lawyers is challenging, sometimes. The general public’s impression of attorneys is not always the most favorable, to put it simply. The perceived lack of courtesy may explain part of that. And, […]

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Dialing for Dollars

Part of my job operating a small business is marketing; part of that marketing effort involves making sales calls. I think most business people, small or large, can relate. It (the business) is (almost) all about the marketing. Some of these are to “friendlies” – that is, past clients or contacts. Some of these calls […]

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In our business, sales and marketing calls are a fact of life. I daresay I have spent more time during my career in marketing/sales pursuits than in doing any other task. If there is no marketing, in fact, there will be no work for anyone at Magnus to perform. Over the years we have been […]

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Rewards/Reinforcement

Learning about the relationship of environmental events and behavior is known in psychology as instrumental conditioning. Instrumental conditioning has been studied extensively since the late 1800s, when a psychologist named Dr. E. L. Thorndike devised the “law of effect.” The law of effect, in its simplistic form, is a successful behavior will increase the probability […]

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Over our many years in business, we have used rewards in the form of bonuses or gifts to employees for jobs well done. These have taken various forms, whether end of year/holiday bonuses or a bonus for a research day completed well, as well as other forms, like gift cards for dinners or weekend getaways. […]

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