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.

Job Quitting Employees are like flat tires

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On October 17, 2014

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

We have all had them, flat tires that is, and too often, at the most inopportune times.  Not that there is a good time to have a flat tire, but there are some bad times.  Usually when one is in a hurry, or on the highway, or late at night – all very bad.  Not […]

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Another View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On October 17, 2014

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

My least favorite job duties are those pertaining to supervising and managing employees. I wish I could be self contained and do everything that needs to be done for my clients myself, however, that has never been the case. Every time an employee resigns, I wistfully daydream about not having to replace him or her, […]

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When you get to work for a former employee, student, etc.

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On October 15, 2014

Category: Business personalities, Careers, Employment, Getting the Job Done, Small Business Success, Trial Consulting

It is impossible to know where the twists and turns in life will take us. I have always lived by that motto, as well as the motto to be as nice as possible to everyone because you just never know how a certain person will be involved in your life in future years. My spouse/business […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On October 15, 2014

Category: Business personalities, Careers, Employment, Getting the Job Done, Small Business Success, Trial Consulting

In contrast to the line from the song Paperlate by Genesis “There’s no need to be nice on the way up, cos you’re not coming down” the truth is you never know where things can lead so you’d better be nice on the way up, down, or sideways when dealing with support staff, associates, students, […]

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Technology transitions can be painful

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On October 9, 2014

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

As we have developed our blogs and topics, we’ve found often one thing leads to another. My recent post on scanning the horizon for changes led me to this post. When we started our trial consulting business, Magnus Research Consultants, in 1993 we had to provide clients with VHS videotapes of the proceedings. I researched […]

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Another View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On October 9, 2014

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

I enjoy change, but sometimes change comes at a high price. In the example David mentioned regarding our company’s change in video equipment, the costs were enormous, in terms of both financial expenditures and personnel. In fact, we lost a long time employee, largely due to mistakes he made during our transitional period between analog […]

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When neighbor kid grows up into employee

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On October 7, 2014

Category: Careers, Employment, Life Outside of Work, Managing Employees

My spouse/business partner and I lived in the same house for over 20 years. We watched the neighbors come and go, pass away, and grow from children into adults. We have had one of the most positive experiences of our lives with a neighbor, whom we met soon after she was born, who began taking […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On October 7, 2014

Category: Careers, Employment, Life Outside of Work, Managing Employees

When I was in my teens and early 20s I was told, one way or another, by “older” people (probably they were younger then than I am now) that they saw something in me that was different in their experience from other people my age. A few of these comments pertained to my being too […]

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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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