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 – Differing conceptualizations of time (and its passage)

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On December 11, 2013

Category: Business Partnerships, Getting the Job Done

Time, and the passage of time, are relative concepts. For some people, being on time is an important part of their identity. I am one of these people; I am punctual (often arriving a little early for appointments), I know what time it is, I know how long it takes to perform every task I […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On December 11, 2013

Category: Business Partnerships, Getting the Job Done

I don’t like feeling like the white rabbit from Alice in Wonderland who exclaimed, “I’m late, I’m late for a very important date.” And, I usually don’t. My interpretation of time is more customized to the situation. When meeting clients or others, I am almost always punctual. My problem is that the amount of work […]

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A Point of View & Another View – SINK, not DINK

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On December 9, 2013

Category: Business Partnerships, Careers, Employment

At the height of the yuppie culture in the 1980s, according to Wikipedia, the term DINK was coined.  DINK is an acronym for dual income no kids. It occurred to me recently that a related acronym for those of us who co-own small businesses with a spouse, but do not have kids, is SINK. No […]

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Another View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On December 9, 2013

Category: Business Partnerships, Careers, Employment

My spouse/business partner has been self-employed since the day I met him, many years ago. I, on the other hand, was a person who had been working, since the age of 15, for a long list of bosses, in a variety of workplaces. It has only been in the past 20 years that both my […]

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A Point of View & Another View – Optimists & Pessimists

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On December 6, 2013

Category: Business personalities

There are two interesting personality types, as well as a third that is situationally dependent. I am referring to optimists, the people who see the glass as half full, and pessimists, the rest of us. There has been a substantial amount of social psychological research on the differences between optimists and pessimists and the interested […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On December 6, 2013

Category: Business personalities

I prefer to see the glass as half full, especially if there is a beverage in it. I realize that there may be more disappointments this way but the difference in personalities may also be a chicken or egg question.  Because much of my job today in the trial consulting world involves marketing and business […]

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A Point of View & Another View – Things NOT ok to mention in front of employees

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On December 2, 2013

Category: Managing Employees

Previously we have discussed the need for business partners, managers, etc. to coordinate many things in advance of speaking with employees about workplace changes or sensitive issues. Definitely, issues which could result in uncertainty or job insecurity should be carefully considered before discussing with employees, and the cautious approach is to only discuss such items […]

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Another View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On December 2, 2013

Category: Managing Employees

I share my partner’s intrigue regarding our employees’ overall discomfort with discussing the “business part” of the business. We used to have bi-monthly staff meetings, during which we discussed the pending cases on which we hoped to be retained. Much to my partner’s and my surprise, the employees became upset when a long hoped for […]

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A Point of View & Another View – What To Do When Alarm Doesn’t Go Off

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On November 27, 2013

Category: Business Travel, Travel

Inevitably, and even when all details have been finalized, something can, and will, go wrong. For example, recently, I was scheduled to make a presentation to an audience comprised of about 100 people and my trusty alarm clock broke at the exact time I had set it to wake me. When I awoke much later […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On November 27, 2013

Category: Business Travel, Travel

Though with some issues, like alarm clocks, one can anticipate and take additional steps, like setting 2 alarms, it is impossible to anticipate every contingency. The key to getting the job done is adaptation and not letting “them” see you sweat. What we try to instill in employees, who, as young professionals are often employed […]

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Things to talk about before involving employees

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On November 25, 2013

Category: Managing Employees

In an office where open doors are the norm, it is important to remember that there are times to shut the doors and have private discussions between the partners before discussing those issues with the employees. Perhaps this seems obvious. But, there have been times where it has not been as obvious to us, because […]

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Another View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On November 25, 2013

Category: Managing Employees

Our office is small, our staff are few in number, and our overall work environment is casual. These things being said, my partner and I have anything but a casual attitude toward our work, our business, and our clients. There have been some times when our employees mistake our small office atmosphere for a fun […]

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Greyhound Bus/Flying Suitcase to Tampa

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On November 20, 2013

Category: Getting the Job Done

Plans change, often at the last minute. No one can remember everything, always. These two observations go hand in hand when I am working out of town, and planning to come home on a certain day, when, due to factors outside my control (for example, the whims of a federal judge), I am stranded far […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On November 20, 2013

Category: Getting the Job Done

Creative problem solving requires focus and purpose, not panic. In the incidents Melissa described, many options were considered, quickly, before the plan was chosen. She was in Tampa conducing mock trials for a client who got the word mid-afternoon that the case on which they were doing the mock trials had been called to trial […]

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Improvise, Adapt and Overcome!

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On November 18, 2013

Category: Careers, Employment

I first remember hearing this phrase when, playing a hard-nosed, hard-living Marine gunnery sergeant in the 1986 film Heartbreak Ridge, Clint Eastwood, said it while he tried to train a ragged platoon of recruits. Their mission required some innovations over routine approaches when conditions changed on the unit. Being in many businesses requires adaptation, and […]

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Another View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On November 18, 2013

Category: Careers, Employment

As social psychologist, it has been interesting throughout my career to observe the way in which many people run into roadblocks when things don’t turn out the way they planned. I am results oriented and I am often the first person in our team to find a creative way to solve a problem, even a […]

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24 Hour Shopping

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On November 13, 2013

Category: Travel

Traveling for business is a way of life for my spouse/business partner and me. I have been traversing the U.S.A. for decades as a trial consultant and I plan to continue my road/air warrior lifestyle for years to come. Invariably, on a few of these business trips, I, or one of my employees, have forgotten […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On November 13, 2013

Category: Travel

Sometimes it is not just a forgotten item, but instead, lost luggage. I will never forget flying to a city the night before a meeting with a trial team to review the results of their mock jury research and having the airline lose all of my and my partner’s luggage. The meeting was the next […]

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Packing

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On November 11, 2013

Category: Travel

Business travelers know that packing (and unpacking) is a necessary, but not fun, part of travel. Whether you pack heavy, like me, or minimalistic, packing carefully means considering what you will need and how much you will need. The types of clothes for each day, and all relevant accessories, must be considered. So, packing requires […]

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Another View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On November 11, 2013

Category: Travel

I am a road and sky warrior.  I am packed and ready to go anywhere, anytime.  I have two of all essential toiletry and personal items so that I can keep one of everything in my suitcase at all times.  I usually re-stock toiletry items upon returning from a trip (based on a list I […]

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