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.

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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A Point of View & Another View – Differing conceptualizations of time (and its passage)

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On December 11, 2013

Category: Business Partnerships, Getting the Job Done

Time, and the passage of time, are relative concepts. For some people, being on time is an important part of their identity. I am one of these people; I am punctual (often arriving a little early for appointments), I know what time it is, I know how long it takes to perform every task I […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On December 11, 2013

Category: Business Partnerships, Getting the Job Done

I don’t like feeling like the white rabbit from Alice in Wonderland who exclaimed, “I’m late, I’m late for a very important date.” And, I usually don’t. My interpretation of time is more customized to the situation. When meeting clients or others, I am almost always punctual. My problem is that the amount of work […]

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A Point of View & Another View – SINK, not DINK

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On December 9, 2013

Category: Business Partnerships, Careers, Employment

At the height of the yuppie culture in the 1980s, according to Wikipedia, the term DINK was coined.  DINK is an acronym for dual income no kids. It occurred to me recently that a related acronym for those of us who co-own small businesses with a spouse, but do not have kids, is SINK. No […]

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Another View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On December 9, 2013

Category: Business Partnerships, Careers, Employment

My spouse/business partner has been self-employed since the day I met him, many years ago. I, on the other hand, was a person who had been working, since the age of 15, for a long list of bosses, in a variety of workplaces. It has only been in the past 20 years that both my […]

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A Point of View & Another View – Optimists & Pessimists

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On December 6, 2013

Category: Business personalities

There are two interesting personality types, as well as a third that is situationally dependent. I am referring to optimists, the people who see the glass as half full, and pessimists, the rest of us. There has been a substantial amount of social psychological research on the differences between optimists and pessimists and the interested […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On December 6, 2013

Category: Business personalities

I prefer to see the glass as half full, especially if there is a beverage in it. I realize that there may be more disappointments this way but the difference in personalities may also be a chicken or egg question.  Because much of my job today in the trial consulting world involves marketing and business […]

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A Point of View & Another View – Things NOT ok to mention in front of employees

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On December 2, 2013

Category: Managing Employees

Previously we have discussed the need for business partners, managers, etc. to coordinate many things in advance of speaking with employees about workplace changes or sensitive issues. Definitely, issues which could result in uncertainty or job insecurity should be carefully considered before discussing with employees, and the cautious approach is to only discuss such items […]

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Another View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On December 2, 2013

Category: Managing Employees

I share my partner’s intrigue regarding our employees’ overall discomfort with discussing the “business part” of the business. We used to have bi-monthly staff meetings, during which we discussed the pending cases on which we hoped to be retained. Much to my partner’s and my surprise, the employees became upset when a long hoped for […]

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A Point of View & Another View – What To Do When Alarm Doesn’t Go Off

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On November 27, 2013

Category: Business Travel, Travel

Inevitably, and even when all details have been finalized, something can, and will, go wrong. For example, recently, I was scheduled to make a presentation to an audience comprised of about 100 people and my trusty alarm clock broke at the exact time I had set it to wake me. When I awoke much later […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On November 27, 2013

Category: Business Travel, Travel

Though with some issues, like alarm clocks, one can anticipate and take additional steps, like setting 2 alarms, it is impossible to anticipate every contingency. The key to getting the job done is adaptation and not letting “them” see you sweat. What we try to instill in employees, who, as young professionals are often employed […]

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Things to talk about before involving employees

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On November 25, 2013

Category: Managing Employees

In an office where open doors are the norm, it is important to remember that there are times to shut the doors and have private discussions between the partners before discussing those issues with the employees. Perhaps this seems obvious. But, there have been times where it has not been as obvious to us, because […]

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Another View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On November 25, 2013

Category: Managing Employees

Our office is small, our staff are few in number, and our overall work environment is casual. These things being said, my partner and I have anything but a casual attitude toward our work, our business, and our clients. There have been some times when our employees mistake our small office atmosphere for a fun […]

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