About this blog

After more than 25 years operating a trial consulting practice together as co-founding partners of Magnus Research Consultants, Inc. and Magnus Graphics, Inc., and more than 30 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.

Adapting ideas from other fields & industries

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On August 21, 2014

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

There are few roadmaps for how to run a business, of any size. And, with both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in business, I can attest that how to actually operate a business, small or large, is not taught in college or graduate school. It comes from doing it, or observing it, and a lot of […]

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Another View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On August 21, 2014

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

This is an interesting topic for me because it is my field of social psychology that has been adapted to many other fields, including organizational behavior, marketing research, health care, law, and many more. There are numerous research techniques, such as focus groups, that were developed by social psychologists that have a large following in […]

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Giving Psychology away

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On August 14, 2014

Category: Business Partnerships, Careers, Employment, Life Outside of Work, Partnerships, Work-Life

As a long time member of the American Psychological Association (APA), I have always tried to live by the APA’s motto: “Give psychology away.” This means that, on many occasions following a stressful day at the office, I spend countless hours on the phone, or otherwise engaged, on behalf of a family member or friend […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On August 14, 2014

Category: Business Partnerships, Careers, Employment, Life Outside of Work, Partnerships, Work-Life

I can verify that Melissa has taken her responsibilities as a psychologist very seriously and has given much of herself to others in this regard. She has given time as well as maybe part of her “soul” to people she knows well, and many she doesn’t know as well but who needed help. She has […]

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If you say you are detailed oriented, don’t have a typo in your cover letter!

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On August 12, 2014

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

Concerning the “how to get hired” topic, I’ll add this obvious post. Our job in the trial consulting world requires a high level of conscientiousness, a very detailed orientation. As I explain to applicants and new hires, our clients are attorneys. They are paid to find mistakes; we don’t give them any freebies. Undoubtedly, there […]

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Another View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On August 12, 2014

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

In the most recent round of searching for a new Research Associate, we also received a resume` from someone who, in an attempt to stand out among all of the other job applicants, intentionally built in a typo and noted it with a joking comment. Trust me, this applicant got noticed, but not in a […]

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Celebrate (often)

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On August 6, 2014

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

As the Rare Earth song says, “I just want to celebrate another day of living.” Life presents many opportunities to celebrate and I believe it is important to participate in as many celebrations as possible. When someone leads as busy and fast paced life as my spouse/business partner and I do, it is important to […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On August 6, 2014

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

We have enjoyed many celebrations and I believe this practice has had many positive benefits for us personally and professionally. There are many challenges to running a small business, or a large one for that matter, and finding ways to reward ourselves, and sometimes our employees, with celebrations of various achievements is a good way […]

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If you apply for the job, be qualified!

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On August 4, 2014

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

We have recently been trying to fill our Research Associate position. We have what we believe to be a carefully worded job ad which I post at colleges and other places. There are a few, very specific, minimum requirements in the ad, for example, a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology or Sociology and statistical experience. I […]

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Another View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On August 4, 2014

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

I dislike wasting paper, thereby killing trees. Unfortunately, I have been wasting paper and killing trees, due to the fact David has received numerous resumes from people who should never have applied for the job we are advertising. For example, the job we are currently trying to fill specifies, as its absolute minimum requirement, someone […]

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Phone home ET

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On July 31, 2014

Category: Business Partnerships, Careers, Employment, Getting the Job Done, Life Outside of Work, Managing Employees, Travel, Work-Life

Since 1989, I have traveled for business frequently. I am truly a road and sky warrior. For many of my travels, I am accompanied by employees, other consultants, and people who are not friends or family members. In the past few years, my spouse/business partner has traveled with me more than in the past (due […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On July 31, 2014

Category: Business Partnerships, Careers, Employment, Getting the Job Done, Life Outside of Work, Managing Employees, Travel, Work-Life

As technology has evolved, the ability to keep in touch has never been easier.  With “smart” phones evolving from “bricks” there is hardly any excuse not to communicate.  Regardless of the technology, the important part is being in touch, especially with a spouse or family.  My spouse and I live and work together – thus, […]

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Connections: Mark Weisser

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On July 29, 2014

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

You never know who you’ll meet or how that person will impact your life.  Mark is the fraternity brother of someone whom I knew professionally.   This person recommended Mark for some printing work I needed.  I’ve worked with printers in the past, especially when working as a photographer, and those connections are not memorable. […]

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Another View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On July 29, 2014

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

Mark is one of those people who, at least every time I have ever encountered him, is upbeat and full of energy.  He is always ready to help David and me, particularly in our early days of business ownership when we took a long time to pay him for his excellent work.  Mark is one […]

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When to stop, for now

I am a high energy person. I move very fast in getting my work accomplished, whether it is at the office or at home. My late mother used to say, “You have to get up way before breakfast to stay ahead of Melissa” and “Just hearing about your schedule makes me tired.” When I wake […]

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Knowing your limits is important in many ways.  Knowing when to stop is as important as knowing when to get started.  I don’t accelerate off the line as fast as Melissa does, but I, too know a wall will appear if I go too long, hard, or fast.  Pushing beyond the line results in dramatically […]

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Connections: Ron Lit

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On July 22, 2014

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

In today’s world we work, we go home and we stay inside.  We often never even meet our neighbors and as a result, we never know what we may be missing.  Fortunately for Melissa and me, we met Ron under unique circumstances which are beyond the scope of this post.  I don’t have a big […]

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Another View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On July 22, 2014

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

Our dear friend and long time neighbor, Ron, was an amazing person David and I will never forget.  He was smart, resourceful, a curmudgeon, often silly, and a very private person who led a “double life” in many ways, that, as David said, are beyond the scope of this blog.  Ron lived next door to […]

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No, I’m not that interested in your personal life

Even though my spouse and I own a small, “mom and pop” business, we are consummate professionals who prefer to keep the lines between business and personal interactions clearly delineated. Our employees have often seemed confused about our formal approach to business, due to our small office environment and our casual attire when working in […]

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We have heard some strange, and somewhat extreme, things from employees and having operated small businesses, it is hard for me to know whether this sometimes sharing of extremely personal information is “normal” in larger environments.  I find it hard to believe that it would be, especially given the hierarchy in large businesses; that is, […]

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