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.

Scanning the horizon for changes

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On October 2, 2014

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

Everyday in business is a good day.  But, being is business isn’t the same from day to day; doing business the same way it has always been done is not a recipe for success.  Many of the changes we’ve faced are the same ones faced by any small business.  Changes in technology, changes in the […]

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Another View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On October 2, 2014

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

As with many things in life, some changes are positive and others, less than positive. Regardless of how we feel about changes, they are going to happen, so it is important to be ready to adapt to our new situation as soon as the inevitable change occurs. I have a lot of friends who are […]

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Don’t hang with neighbors, unless they’re mobsters

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On September 30, 2014

Category: Life Outside of Work

My mother always believed it was not a good idea to “get too close to the neighbors.” She was a very private person and preferred to associate with trusted friends instead of people whom we knew only because they lived in close proximity. Having had my share of problems with nosy neighbors, noisy neighbors, and […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On September 30, 2014

Category: Life Outside of Work

As far as I know, I’ve only lived next door to a mobster one time. And, he wasn’t the godfather by any means, but he grew up in a time and place where mobsters were a big part of his surroundings. He was (past tense because he passed away too many years ago) smart and […]

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Been there, done that

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On September 25, 2014

Category: Business personalities, Employment, Getting the Job Done, Small Business Success, Travel

I first heard this expression when I arrived in Sydney in 1985 and was speaking with the woman from whom I rented a room – she said it in a travel context of having been to a destination and not being impressed, so she was never returning. Subsequently I have heard this with the addition […]

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Another View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On September 25, 2014

Category: Business personalities, Employment, Getting the Job Done, Small Business Success, Travel

David is right. I have “been there, done that, got the t-shirt, got the coffee mug” and I am not going back to many, many places. I have also “been there and done that” when it comes to spending my valuable time with certain people; in other words, I have moved on, I am over […]

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Hiring friends – don’t

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On September 23, 2014

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

My husband/business partner and I made a serious mistake early in our company in hiring one of our friends. Several people told us not to do this and several people told our friend not to take the job. Alas, hindsight truly is 20/20; hiring a friend is truly one of those things no one should […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On September 23, 2014

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

My comments on this are not as strong as Melissa’s because in our experience the person/friend in question was more her friend than mine. So, while I will never say never to hiring a friend, doing so again would only be done under exceptional circumstances. In a demanding working environment, flaws or mistakes made by […]

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Force Feeding Employees

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On September 18, 2014

Category: Business personalities, Careers, Employment, Litigation Tips, Managing Employees, Small Business Success, Trial Consulting, Workplace Technology

Force feeding certainly has a negative connotation and perhaps isn’t the best connotation in a work environment.  But, sometimes you have to really push employees to do things and to do them in a way you, their boss, want them done.  In recent years, one of the things I have had to force has been […]

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The older I get, and the more experience I have as a social psychologist, the younger and more inexperienced my employees appear to me. Work tasks they are completing for the first time are often tasks I have been performing for decades. Things that are second nature to me are sometimes difficult for them. Because […]

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Be ready to go

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On September 16, 2014

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

My job requires travel, lots and lots of travel. I travel to places where many people would never want to go; it’s my job, it’s the life I have chosen. Because I have to travel in order to perform my job, it is not in my best interests to: (1) be surprised when I need […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On September 16, 2014

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

Many, many years ago I came to know some new neighbors who moved into the big riverfront house next door. The Goederts had moved into Mr. Goedert’s dream house because it had a dock and boathouse on the river. My brother and I became his buddies because he had raised 4 daughters and had no […]

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Pushing each other, nicely

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On September 11, 2014

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

Working with a business partner to whom one is married does present some challenges over more traditional, business only, arrangements. In an employee/employer relationship, the norm is probably for the boss to say to an employee, “do this…” But, when the relationship is partner to partner, or if the employee wants to suggest something to […]

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Another View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On September 11, 2014

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

As David mentions, the timing of a “gentle reminder” or suggestion is, for me, often more important than the actual content of the suggestion. My work requires me to concentrate and focus on complicated matters and the last thing I want is to be interrupted by anyone, including my well meaning spouse/business partner, with a […]

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Rules – when to bend them

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On September 9, 2014

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

Some people say I am a “goody goody,” then they get to know me! Overall, however, I usually follow the rules of the particular game I am playing, especially when I am playing the game of life. There are times to follow the rules and there are times when the rules can be bent, just […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On September 9, 2014

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

I would add that sometimes one has to remember the reason behind the rules and decide if they still apply and/or make sense in a given situation. In the workplace we often have rules to ensure uniformity in performance and to reinforce the ways to work toward a common objective. If you, like us, are […]

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Do what the (TSA) man say

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On September 3, 2014

Category: Careers, Employment, Travel

There are times to argue or have a difference of opinion, but not when the person you disagree with happens to work for the Transportation Security Administration, otherwise known as the TSA. As a frequent business traveler, I have had all too many experiences, mostly negative, with members of the TSA and I have found […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On September 3, 2014

Category: Careers, Employment, Travel

It is hard to follow that story. But it is a great illustration of the ridiculous things we have to put up as road and sky warriors. Sometimes I want to ask the TSA people if they, themselves, have ever traveled as a civilian. The sad thing is such actions on the part of the […]

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NO CURSING AT WORK

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On August 25, 2014

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

I have never been in the Navy, or the Coast Guard for that matter, but I run a tight ship. And, in the ship that is my corporation, cursing has absolutely no place during work hours. This prohibition against cursing includes the times when we are working in the office as well as the times […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On August 25, 2014

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

Professional decorum is an important part of the image of a company and this is one of the reasons for our policy against foul language. But, the tone set in environments where such language is common is also damaging beyond the corporate image – it damages employee morale. The hostility of workplaces where such language […]

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