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.

A Point of View & Another View – Keeping Everyone Organized

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On February 20, 2014

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

Though my business partner/spouse and I are organized people, employees have not always proven themselves to be.  We have hired many employees for their first professional job and, although habits they had in college may have worked well for them when they were only concerned with their own individual performance, we have often seen the […]

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Another View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On February 20, 2014

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

I know what I am doing, at all times, on all cases for which my company and I have been retained.  But, knowing what I am doing does not mean others know what they are doing!  Realizing this, I have taken numerous steps to communicate with employees exactly what they are supposed to do on […]

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A Point of View & Another View – Ziggy Principle

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On February 17, 2014

Category: Business Partnerships, Careers, Employment, Managing Employees

Ziggy (or Ziggy Stardust, his full name) was my beloved cat who lived until he was 19 years old.  Ziggy and I traveled far and wide, had many amazing experiences, and after his passing, I wrote a book about his adventures.  For all of his greatness, however, Ziggy was, after all, a cat.  And, weighing […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On February 17, 2014

Category: Business Partnerships, Careers, Employment, Managing Employees

I know that children sometimes use a tactic similar to the Ziggy principle in trying to play one parent off the other.  The interesting point, though, in a work environment is that trying to pitch something to one boss, then another, is that this can be a dangerous career move.  Bemused, maybe, but the more […]

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A Point of View & Another View – Who Works for Whom (You’re Fired)

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On February 13, 2014

Category: Business Partnerships, Careers, Employment, Managing Employees, Small Business Success

As we developed the topics for these insights, my spouse/business partner and I obviously based them on our experience as small business owners.  While it is the topic of other posts to discuss who created or operates small or large businesses, suffice it to say that if someone has started a business or is running […]

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Another View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On February 13, 2014

Category: Business Partnerships, Careers, Employment, Managing Employees, Small Business Success

My spouse/business partner and I have had the good fortune to have many wonderful employees over the years.  We have had numerous long term employees and have also had the pleasure of working with several vendors for decades.  During the over 20 years we have owned and operated our business, however, we have also had […]

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United Front Not Always Apparent

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On February 10, 2014

Category: Business personalities, Careers, Employment, Managing Employees, Small Business Success

Above all else, my spouse/business partner and I maintain a united front. Yes, we disagree, we sometimes don’t see eye to eye, and we have idiosyncracies that annoy each other, but we are a team and our efforts, when combined, are a formidable match for anyone who attempts to “play” one of us against the […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On February 10, 2014

Category: Business personalities, Careers, Employment, Managing Employees, Small Business Success

As business and life partners, we will naturally have a similar perspective on many issues such that it is second nature to respond in some united fashion. As Melissa discusses, in the extreme, when employees have tried to create a wedge between us, that mistake results in almost an automatic defensive response (usually resulting in […]

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A Point of View & Another View – Providing the Big Picture to Employees

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On February 5, 2014

Category: Careers, Employment, Getting the Job Done

From time to time over the years we have been in business it has been clear that one or more employees works from day to day keeping only his or her immediate tasks in mind.  The employee sees these tasks as the reason he/she has a job.  Of course, to a degree, that is true. […]

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Another View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On February 5, 2014

Category: Careers, Employment, Getting the Job Done

My spouse/business partner and I are big believers in open, honest, and direct communications with employees.  We have debriefings after every research project to discuss anything that went wrong and ways to prevent future mistakes; we have planning meetings prior to all upcoming research days; we have extensive training programs for employees of all levels; […]

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Couples’/Business Partners’ Nights Out

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On February 3, 2014

Category: Business Partnerships, Employment, Life Outside of Work, Small Business Success, Work-Life

Much has been said about the importance of having “date night” or other forms of private get togethers between busy spouses or romantic partners.  When the spouses are also business partners who work together all day then go home together, it may not seem as important to spend free time together as it is for […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On February 3, 2014

Category: Business Partnerships, Employment, Life Outside of Work, Small Business Success, Work-Life

An important aspect of non work time is keeping it non work time – that is, not letting work issues creep back into the situation.  For us, this is about “couples’” time – but for business partners who are not couples, having connections beyond work can be beneficial.  Activities which allow partners to connect as […]

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A Point of View & Another View – Learning When To “Cut ‘Em Loose”: Employees/Suppliers/Clients

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On January 31, 2014

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

I suppose it is akin to knowing when to hold them or when to fold them, but it is important in a small business to know when to cut “them” loose.  “Them” may be an employee, or it may be a supplier, or it may be a client.  Speaking with other business owners over the […]

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Another View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On January 31, 2014

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

Most of our parting of the ways with employees, vendors, and clients have been brought about by choices made by these individuals, including choices that have been unrelated to their work with my company.  The most painful parting of company in my career was with a long time vendor, with us since the founding of […]

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A Point of View & Another View – When Momma Ain’t Happy

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On January 27, 2014

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

A former and long time employee of my company, who also happened to have been married to the same woman for many decades, used to say, “When momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” Although the grammar contained in this statement was, at first, shocking, in that the person who said it has a Ph.D., it […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On January 27, 2014

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

One of the keys to success as an employee is to learn how to keep the boss happy by learning that boss’ preferences, style, or approach. And, once it is learned, emulate it, or at least think of one’s work from the perspective of the boss. A boss often has good reasons for approaching work […]

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A Point of View & Another View – Juggling/multitasking

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On January 23, 2014

Category: Careers, Employment, Getting the Job Done, Life Outside of Work

Multitasking is the norm for most workers, both employees and owners, in today’s world. There is a research evidence that multitasking is not always the most productive work style, but it seems to be the reality for most jobs. Over the years we have learned to pre-screen prospective employees on their ability to multitask. Most […]

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Another View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On January 23, 2014

Category: Careers, Employment, Getting the Job Done, Life Outside of Work

The definition of multitasking varies with individuals. In my job, I do not work on several tasks at exactly the same time; if I did, nothing would get accomplished. Instead, my work requires me to prepare for upcoming cases, including research projects such as mock trials and focus groups, and consulting, such as jury selection. […]

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A Point of View & Another View – Be up to date with technology

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On January 21, 2014

Category: Small Business Success, Workplace Technology

I am not the most tech savvy person; I admit it. I view technology with a degree of caution and skepticism, but I never yearn for the “old days” of walking great distances in the workplace just to send or receive a fax. In that technology is here to stay and technological advances are a […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On January 21, 2014

Category: Small Business Success, Workplace Technology

While I agree that keeping pace with technology is important, it is not always easy and can involve steep learning curves. For example, changing from using videotape to record mock juries to digital cameras had a steep learning curve. For confidentiality reasons, we do the video recording and editing in house. Learning what cameras, microphones, […]

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