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 – 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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A Point of View & Another View – Have Rules (Policies, & Procedures)

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On January 15, 2014

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

When we first started our business, long before we had the prospect of having employees, we began developing a policy and procedures manual. Maybe it was my degree in Organizational Behavior, or Melissa’s having taught Industrial/Organizational Psychology, or both of us having worked for other employers, but we knew that while we had “free” time […]

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Another View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On January 15, 2014

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

Magnus is a small corporation, however, we have extremely formal ways of doing business. We have a specific policy covering every major aspect of our work, including dress code, social media, and what constitutes a valid expense on an expense report. As with most employers, my partner and I have had numerous experiences with employees […]

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A Point of View & Another View – Communication Skills

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On January 13, 2014

Category: Careers, Employment, Getting the Job Done, Managing Employees, Travel

There are myriad ways to communicate in today’s workplaces. Unfortunately, many employees seem to prefer one means of communication over others, regardless of the circumstances. In addition, it has been my experience, as an employer, that most employees are not perceptive enough to discern, on their own and without frequent prompting, that “the boss” usually […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On January 13, 2014

Category: Careers, Employment, Getting the Job Done, Managing Employees, Travel

Another issue I have observed is employees, especially the youngest ones, being reluctant to pick up a telephone and make a call. Sometimes that is what should be done – it is the expedient choice, but it appears many people have learned to prefer one way communication via email. Email takes away the give and […]

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A Point of View & Another View – Who’s Da Boss?

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On January 8, 2014

Category: Careers, Employment, Managing Employees

It should be easy to figure out who the boss is and whom, therefore, employees should try to please. But, for various reasons, sometimes things are not as obvious as they seem apparently. Over the years we have had some experiences with employees who either forgot who the boss is or try to slide by […]

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Another View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On January 8, 2014

Category: Careers, Employment, Managing Employees

Almost everyone who works for a living has a boss. Although I am the co-owner and thus, the boss, of my company, I have many bosses: the clients who retain my company for our litigation research and consulting services. In a service based company, such as mine, it is important for the employees to realize […]

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A Point of View & Another View – Remote Employees

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On January 7, 2014

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

My partner’s and my company has, from time to time, employed people who work full time, part time, or on occasion, from their home. There are benefits of having remote employees, such as reduced overhead (they do not require an office), and in today’s world, many tasks can be performed via remote computer access that […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On January 7, 2014

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

As one with a background in organizational behavior, I have been interested to observe businesses, large and small, grapple with the idea of remotely working employees. There are certainly pros and cons to these arrangements. However, as Yahoo’s recent reorganization of its workforce demonstrates, having co-workers actually work together, in the same place, makes sense. […]

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Point & Counterpoint – Good Cop/Bad Cop

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On December 30, 2013

Category: Managing Employees

In prior posts we have discussed the need for partners or managers to get their thoughts together prior to meetings with employees. This is especially true if there is a need to engage in disciplinary actions or remedial training measures. Often, it naturally becomes a situation where one partner/manager is the “bad cop” delivering the […]

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Another View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On December 30, 2013

Category: Managing Employees

Contrary to popular belief, I am not always the “bad cop” counterpart to my partner’s “good cop.” In fact, we have had a few, admittedly very few, employees over the years who find me easier to work with than my partner. As I always tell our clients, all trial lawyers who delight in asking me […]

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A Point of View & Another View – Mom & Pop

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On December 23, 2013

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

I never considered that we were starting a Mom & Pop business when we started our trial consulting business, Magnus, in 1993. In fact, originally there were to be 3 partners, but the 3rd dropped out early – he wasn’t cut out to be an entrepreneur. Family run business structures are probably one of the […]

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Another View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On December 23, 2013

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

I, too, never considered owning and operating a “Mom and Pop” business, but after 20 years as a small business owner, I guess I will have to accept my career choice. Before co-owning a Mom and Pop business, I was employed by various others for 20 years; some of these businesses were large corporations, others […]

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A Point of View & Another View – Be on time

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On December 18, 2013

Category: Employment

Being on time conveys important messages: (1) this is an important event; (2) you are an important person; (3) I have nothing I would rather do at this moment; (4) I know your time is as valuable, if not more valuable, than mine; and (5) I am aware of the powerful impact of first impressions […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On December 18, 2013

Category: Employment

Melissa’s points on timeliness are on target. Though I believe some events are more time sensitive than others, sometimes it is difficult to balance the demands from different clients, directions, or events. As frustrating as it has been over the years to be kept waiting occasionally when arriving on time for a client appointment, the […]

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A Point of View & Another View – Working remotely

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On December 16, 2013

Category: Careers, Employment, Getting the Job Done

The ability to work remotely with the assistance of technology is a common occurrence in today’s world. In a small business, being able to work remotely, from home or while on the road, makes many things possible which were not previously possible. Being able to travel, or work at home without interruptions, are the most […]

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Another View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On December 16, 2013

Category: Careers, Employment, Getting the Job Done

I have been traveling and, therefore, working remotely, for close to 25 years. Things have evolved during this time to make working in places other than my office almost as simple as if I were there. In the old days, my cell phone was so big it had to be carried in my briefcase; now […]

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