About this blog

After more than 20 years operating a trial consulting practice together as co-founding partners of Magnus Research Consultants, Inc. and Magnus Graphics, Inc., and more than 25 years of marriage, Dr. Melissa Pigott and David Fauss decided to share some of their thoughts, experiences, pet peeves, and perspectives on operating a small “mom & pop” business. The intended audience for their writings is other business owners, as well as employees of small businesses. Trial consulting is a professional service business, as was David’s photography business. There are many unique issues faced by professional service providers; Melissa and David share some of their insights on running a successful business.

Give her some ideas, tactfully

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On April 23, 2014

Category: Business Partnerships, Business personalities, Careers, Employment, Partnerships, Work-Life

Working with one’s spouse requires some unique considerations.  Perhaps the thought contained in this post is true in other partnerships, but given that spouses work, and live, together, being extra sensitive to each other is critical.  What I am writing about here is when you have an idea or suggestion to give your spouse/partner about […]

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Another View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On April 23, 2014

Category: Business Partnerships, Business personalities, Careers, Employment, Partnerships, Work-Life

When one’s business partner is one’s spouse and thus, life partner, there are many overlaps in work and personal roles.  My spouse/partner has realized for decades that I am not the easiest person to live or work with; the level of tactfulness he has to employ when dealing with me is well beyond what most […]

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Git Er Dun

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On April 21, 2014

Category: Business personalities, Careers, Employment, Getting the Job Done, Managing Employees, Partnerships, Small Business Success, Work-Life

The rather crude, somewhat sexually suggestive, “Git ‘er dun” expression has become pervasive, to the point of being printed on hats, license plates, and other items. Although I like to think of myself as an educated, erudite, well spoken person, I have resorted to using this expression from time to time because it expresses, in […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On April 21, 2014

Category: Business personalities, Careers, Employment, Getting the Job Done, Managing Employees, Partnerships, Small Business Success, Work-Life

It can be hard to prioritize but when the boss (at home or work) says “git ‘er dun” the priorities become very clear.  But, another aspect of “git ‘er dun” is to take it as a motto to make things happen, fast, and accurately.  And, then to let someone know whatever it was to be […]

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Positive Feedback

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On April 17, 2014

Category: Careers, Employment, Getting the Job Done, Managing Employees

Though in some of our blogs we have pointed out the negative experiences we have had, the truth is that most employees are good people, most of their work is done in an acceptable fashion, and generally the employees who last for more than a few months have done their jobs well.  We recognize this […]

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Another View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On April 17, 2014

Category: Careers, Employment, Getting the Job Done, Managing Employees

As a social psychologist, I am well aware of the strong impact of positive reinforcement (or feedback, in lay persons’ terms).  Positive reinforcement has been shown, through decades of research, to have more effects in promoting good behavior than punishment has in correcting bad behavior.  I am a firm believer in positive reinforcement.  I thank […]

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Friendly competition

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On April 14, 2014

Category: Business Partnerships, Business personalities, Careers, Employment, Getting the Job Done, Managing Employees, Small Business Success

I am a very competitive person. And, I don’t just like to compete for the sake of competing; I like to win. Furthermore, many things are games to me and I love to play games. Since childhood, my friends and I have played a silly game on the first day of the month in which […]

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There are many ways friendly competition can be used and can be helpful.  The games Melissa mentions are for fun and to help break the monotony or temper work place stress and tensions.  I recently discussed some of this with a computer programmer who manages many other programmers and he spoke of occasionally challenging the […]

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Yes, it is personal

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On April 10, 2014

Category: Business personalities, Careers, Employment, Getting the Job Done, Managing Employees

In two previous posts we have discussed employee mistakes, accidents, etc.  The extension of these points is that employers are people too, with feelings, and we can’t help but take some of these things as personal affronts.  The assets of the company are the property of the owners of the company.  This includes the pens, […]

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Another View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On April 10, 2014

Category: Business personalities, Careers, Employment, Getting the Job Done, Managing Employees

I have been working, and working hard, since I was 15 years old. Circumstances in my life necessitated my working to help support my family. Earning my Ph.D. required me to work, nonstop, all the way through college and graduate school. Nothing was ever given to me; I have worked for everything I have. It […]

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Yes, all this stuff IS mine

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On April 8, 2014

Category: Business personalities, Careers, Employment, Getting the Job Done, Managing Employees

As the co-owner of a small, “mom and pop” business, I take everything personally. It is only because of my spouse/business partner’s and my hard work, long term commitment to our company, and personal sacrifices that we have achieved what we have. Every single item in our office, from the pens and paper we use, […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On April 8, 2014

Category: Business personalities, Careers, Employment, Getting the Job Done, Managing Employees

When one owns the business, this includes all of the stuff that goes along with it.  And, as Melissa pointed out, business owners must determine the best way to utilized the finite resources one has to get the job done.  What prompted this post is the surprising number of times we have seen people, often […]

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Coffee in the Boss’ Truck

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On April 4, 2014

Category: Careers, Employment, Getting the Job Done, Managing Employees

Building on the earlier post about the cost of employee errors, this one is about particular experience we had.  I found a large coffee stain on the floor near the center console of the SUV we own and use to travel to research projects.  Mock jury research requires a large amount of equipment to be […]

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Another View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On April 4, 2014

Category: Careers, Employment, Getting the Job Done, Managing Employees

We have consulted on many tragic cases involving employees who have had serious, often fatal, accidents while driving their employer’s vehicle.  It is always amazing to me that many employees seem to believe their employer’s vehicle (not to mention other property) is a benefit to which they are entitled.  In the cases on which we […]

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We Have to Pay for Everything

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On April 1, 2014

Category: Business personalities, Careers, Employment, Getting the Job Done, Managing Employees

As the co-owners of a small business, my spouse/business partner and I have to pay for everything. By “everything,” I mean everything. We have to pay for things the employees break; new things to replace old things (most of which work perfectly fine, but are outdated); services provided by vendors; the air conditioning bill, even […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On April 1, 2014

Category: Business personalities, Careers, Employment, Getting the Job Done, Managing Employees

This is one of those issues that separates the employer/employee personality.  For most of my working life I have been in the owner position and have had to pay for everything.  As a photographer, this included cameras, lenses, lighting equipment, and film (yes, film and processing), and pens and paper and typewriters, then computers, and […]

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Running a Business is Not all Negative

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On March 27, 2014

Category: Business Partnerships, Careers, Employment, Managing Employees, Partnerships, Small Business Success, Work-Life

As I have written some of these posts I have found that a number of them take on an employer  – employee, us vs. them, negative tone.  A few years ago there was a movie out called Horrible Bosses.  I admit, when I first heard that title I was offended.  Though I did enjoy the […]

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Another View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On March 27, 2014

Category: Business Partnerships, Careers, Employment, Managing Employees, Partnerships, Small Business Success, Work-Life

When I was in graduate school to earn a Ph.D. in social psychology, the expectation among my professors was that I would join their ranks in academia.  Indeed, all of my peers became college professors.  I never desired a career in academia, preferring instead to work in corporate environments, including as a litigation consultant.  If […]

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Social Outings with Staff

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On March 25, 2014

Category: Business personalities, Careers, Employment, Managing Employees

As a small business owner, and a consultant who travels often to work for clients, my personal time is valuable. However, I also recognize that engaging in activities that foster employee morale is a required part of my job as the co-owner of the company. One of the ways my business partner and I have […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On March 25, 2014

Category: Business personalities, Careers, Employment, Managing Employees

As Melissa says, these are social events, but with a work component.  Typically, attendance is required, or at least strongly encouraged.  In our environment that has never been a problem, but it can be in larger organizations especially if spouses or other family are invited.  The issue is that they are built around “fun” activities […]

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