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.

Friendly competition

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On April 14, 2014

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

I am a very competitive person. And, I don’t just like to compete for the sake of competing; I like to win. Furthermore, many things are games to me and I love to play games. Since childhood, my friends and I have played a silly game on the first day of the month in which […]

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There are many ways friendly competition can be used and can be helpful.  The games Melissa mentions are for fun and to help break the monotony or temper work place stress and tensions.  I recently discussed some of this with a computer programmer who manages many other programmers and he spoke of occasionally challenging the […]

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Yes, it is personal

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On April 10, 2014

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

In two previous posts we have discussed employee mistakes, accidents, etc.  The extension of these points is that employers are people too, with feelings, and we can’t help but take some of these things as personal affronts.  The assets of the company are the property of the owners of the company.  This includes the pens, […]

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Another View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On April 10, 2014

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

I have been working, and working hard, since I was 15 years old. Circumstances in my life necessitated my working to help support my family. Earning my Ph.D. required me to work, nonstop, all the way through college and graduate school. Nothing was ever given to me; I have worked for everything I have. It […]

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Yes, all this stuff IS mine

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On April 8, 2014

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

As the co-owner of a small, “mom and pop” business, I take everything personally. It is only because of my spouse/business partner’s and my hard work, long term commitment to our company, and personal sacrifices that we have achieved what we have. Every single item in our office, from the pens and paper we use, […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On April 8, 2014

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

When one owns the business, this includes all of the stuff that goes along with it.  And, as Melissa pointed out, business owners must determine the best way to utilized the finite resources one has to get the job done.  What prompted this post is the surprising number of times we have seen people, often […]

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Coffee in the Boss’ Truck

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On April 4, 2014

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

Building on the earlier post about the cost of employee errors, this one is about particular experience we had.  I found a large coffee stain on the floor near the center console of the SUV we own and use to travel to research projects.  Mock jury research requires a large amount of equipment to be […]

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Another View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On April 4, 2014

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

We have consulted on many tragic cases involving employees who have had serious, often fatal, accidents while driving their employer’s vehicle.  It is always amazing to me that many employees seem to believe their employer’s vehicle (not to mention other property) is a benefit to which they are entitled.  In the cases on which we […]

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We Have to Pay for Everything

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On April 1, 2014

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

As the co-owners of a small business, my spouse/business partner and I have to pay for everything. By “everything,” I mean everything. We have to pay for things the employees break; new things to replace old things (most of which work perfectly fine, but are outdated); services provided by vendors; the air conditioning bill, even […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On April 1, 2014

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

This is one of those issues that separates the employer/employee personality.  For most of my working life I have been in the owner position and have had to pay for everything.  As a photographer, this included cameras, lenses, lighting equipment, and film (yes, film and processing), and pens and paper and typewriters, then computers, and […]

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Running a Business is Not all Negative

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On March 27, 2014

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

As I have written some of these posts I have found that a number of them take on an employer  – employee, us vs. them, negative tone.  A few years ago there was a movie out called Horrible Bosses.  I admit, when I first heard that title I was offended.  Though I did enjoy the […]

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Another View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On March 27, 2014

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

When I was in graduate school to earn a Ph.D. in social psychology, the expectation among my professors was that I would join their ranks in academia.  Indeed, all of my peers became college professors.  I never desired a career in academia, preferring instead to work in corporate environments, including as a litigation consultant.  If […]

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Social Outings with Staff

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On March 25, 2014

Category: Business personalities, Careers, Employment, Managing Employees

As a small business owner, and a consultant who travels often to work for clients, my personal time is valuable. However, I also recognize that engaging in activities that foster employee morale is a required part of my job as the co-owner of the company. One of the ways my business partner and I have […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On March 25, 2014

Category: Business personalities, Careers, Employment, Managing Employees

As Melissa says, these are social events, but with a work component.  Typically, attendance is required, or at least strongly encouraged.  In our environment that has never been a problem, but it can be in larger organizations especially if spouses or other family are invited.  The issue is that they are built around “fun” activities […]

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Freak Spotter

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On March 17, 2014

Category: Business personalities, Careers, Employment, Trial Consulting

My spouse/business partner and I recently were conducting employment interviews.  One of the candidates took exception to some aspects of the job application, which is a standard form we always use for all applicants.  After assuring him that we were not trying to steal his identity, we had a good interview, but Melissa, the psychologist, […]

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Another View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On March 17, 2014

Category: Business personalities, Careers, Employment, Trial Consulting

I am a social psychologist and an expert on judging and predicting human behavior.  In fact, my job is comprised almost exclusively of judging and predicting human behavior and the company I co-own with my spouse exists solely because I possess the education, knowledge, skills, and expertise in determining how people will act.  Time and […]

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Something WILL Go Wrong

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On March 10, 2014

Category: Careers, Employment, Getting the Job Done, Managing Employees, Travel, Trial Consulting, Workplace Technology

My spouse/business partner and I strive for excellence, if not perfection, in everything we do on behalf of our clients, our employees, and ourselves. This is a noble aspiration, however, people and situations being what they are, invariably and despite our best efforts and intentions, something goes wrong. Our jury research exercises involve travel, often […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On March 10, 2014

Category: Careers, Employment, Getting the Job Done, Managing Employees, Travel, Trial Consulting, Workplace Technology

The “something” which goes wrong can be painful, a big problem, or, more frequently something which is less obvious. It is critical to keep one’s cool when things go wrong – as in “don’t let them see you sweat.” But, that is sometimes easier said than done. For us as managers, it has been important […]

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A Point of View & Another View – Ouch! How Employee Mistakes Hurt

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On March 6, 2014

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

I suppose it is partly because I operated my own business for several years as a photographer, with no employees, that I have a full appreciation for the costs of running a business.  If I broke a camera, or ruined a print, it was “my bad”, and I had only myself to blame.  But, when […]

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Another View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On March 6, 2014

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

As the co-owners of a small business, my spouse and I take everything personally, literally.  I tell new employees, “Look around.  Everything you see here was bought by my partner and me, and paid for, 100%, by money I earned personally.  If you break something, you have broken something that belongs to me, not the […]

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