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.

A Point of View & Another View – Providing the Big Picture to Employees

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On February 5, 2014

Category: Careers, Employment, Getting the Job Done

From time to time over the years we have been in business it has been clear that one or more employees works from day to day keeping only his or her immediate tasks in mind.  The employee sees these tasks as the reason he/she has a job.  Of course, to a degree, that is true. […]

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Another View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On February 5, 2014

Category: Careers, Employment, Getting the Job Done

My spouse/business partner and I are big believers in open, honest, and direct communications with employees.  We have debriefings after every research project to discuss anything that went wrong and ways to prevent future mistakes; we have planning meetings prior to all upcoming research days; we have extensive training programs for employees of all levels; […]

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Couples’/Business Partners’ Nights Out

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On February 3, 2014

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

Much has been said about the importance of having “date night” or other forms of private get togethers between busy spouses or romantic partners.  When the spouses are also business partners who work together all day then go home together, it may not seem as important to spend free time together as it is for […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On February 3, 2014

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

An important aspect of non work time is keeping it non work time – that is, not letting work issues creep back into the situation.  For us, this is about “couples’” time – but for business partners who are not couples, having connections beyond work can be beneficial.  Activities which allow partners to connect as […]

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A Point of View & Another View – Learning When To “Cut ‘Em Loose”: Employees/Suppliers/Clients

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On January 31, 2014

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

I suppose it is akin to knowing when to hold them or when to fold them, but it is important in a small business to know when to cut “them” loose.  “Them” may be an employee, or it may be a supplier, or it may be a client.  Speaking with other business owners over the […]

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Another View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On January 31, 2014

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

Most of our parting of the ways with employees, vendors, and clients have been brought about by choices made by these individuals, including choices that have been unrelated to their work with my company.  The most painful parting of company in my career was with a long time vendor, with us since the founding of […]

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A Point of View & Another View – When Momma Ain’t Happy

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On January 27, 2014

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

A former and long time employee of my company, who also happened to have been married to the same woman for many decades, used to say, “When momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” Although the grammar contained in this statement was, at first, shocking, in that the person who said it has a Ph.D., it […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On January 27, 2014

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

One of the keys to success as an employee is to learn how to keep the boss happy by learning that boss’ preferences, style, or approach. And, once it is learned, emulate it, or at least think of one’s work from the perspective of the boss. A boss often has good reasons for approaching work […]

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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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