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 – 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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Greyhound Bus/Flying Suitcase to Tampa

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On November 20, 2013

Category: Getting the Job Done

Plans change, often at the last minute. No one can remember everything, always. These two observations go hand in hand when I am working out of town, and planning to come home on a certain day, when, due to factors outside my control (for example, the whims of a federal judge), I am stranded far […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On November 20, 2013

Category: Getting the Job Done

Creative problem solving requires focus and purpose, not panic. In the incidents Melissa described, many options were considered, quickly, before the plan was chosen. She was in Tampa conducing mock trials for a client who got the word mid-afternoon that the case on which they were doing the mock trials had been called to trial […]

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Improvise, Adapt and Overcome!

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On November 18, 2013

Category: Careers, Employment

I first remember hearing this phrase when, playing a hard-nosed, hard-living Marine gunnery sergeant in the 1986 film Heartbreak Ridge, Clint Eastwood, said it while he tried to train a ragged platoon of recruits. Their mission required some innovations over routine approaches when conditions changed on the unit. Being in many businesses requires adaptation, and […]

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Another View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On November 18, 2013

Category: Careers, Employment

As social psychologist, it has been interesting throughout my career to observe the way in which many people run into roadblocks when things don’t turn out the way they planned. I am results oriented and I am often the first person in our team to find a creative way to solve a problem, even a […]

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24 Hour Shopping

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On November 13, 2013

Category: Travel

Traveling for business is a way of life for my spouse/business partner and me. I have been traversing the U.S.A. for decades as a trial consultant and I plan to continue my road/air warrior lifestyle for years to come. Invariably, on a few of these business trips, I, or one of my employees, have forgotten […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On November 13, 2013

Category: Travel

Sometimes it is not just a forgotten item, but instead, lost luggage. I will never forget flying to a city the night before a meeting with a trial team to review the results of their mock jury research and having the airline lose all of my and my partner’s luggage. The meeting was the next […]

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Packing

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On November 11, 2013

Category: Travel

Business travelers know that packing (and unpacking) is a necessary, but not fun, part of travel. Whether you pack heavy, like me, or minimalistic, packing carefully means considering what you will need and how much you will need. The types of clothes for each day, and all relevant accessories, must be considered. So, packing requires […]

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Another View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On November 11, 2013

Category: Travel

I am a road and sky warrior.  I am packed and ready to go anywhere, anytime.  I have two of all essential toiletry and personal items so that I can keep one of everything in my suitcase at all times.  I usually re-stock toiletry items upon returning from a trip (based on a list I […]

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Own Identity

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On November 6, 2013

Category: Careers, Employment

Even in our so called “modern world,” it is quite uncommon for a married woman to maintain her own identity, particularly as it relates to having her own last name.  The practice of referring to a woman’s choice to have her own last name as “keeping her maiden name” is itself antiquated and condescending to […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On November 6, 2013

Category: Careers, Employment

In American culture men rarely give much consideration to this issue – we are named at birth and never change much.  In other cultures, different customs are followed.  There was a time when it seemed “normal” to me to consider having someone take “my” name if I married, but after giving it very minimal consideration, […]

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Inexperienced “kids”

A Point of View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On November 4, 2013

Category: Careers, Employment

I guess we were all newbies in a career world at one point. But one thing noticeable as time goes on is that the age gap between my spouse/business partner and me and our new hires gets larger, meaning they seem younger. Though most of our employees have at least a college degree, they come […]

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Another View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On November 4, 2013

Category: Careers, Employment

My partner and I have been thanked by the parents of numerous employees for helping “little Johnny” or “little Susie” grow up. We have been quasi parents to many young people; most of our employees are hired with Bachelor’s degrees in psychology soon after their graduation. Future blogs will contain specific comments on nurturing new […]

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Alone Time

A Point of View

Melissa Pigott, Ph.D.

On October 30, 2013

Category: Partnerships, Work-Life

Spending time alone, really alone, is a rarity in today’s world.  Owning a business, traveling around the U.S.A. for business (and sometimes, pleasure), working for demanding clients, supervising employees, overseeing the work of vendors and other helpers, managing the household, and all of life’s other challenges require considerable interaction with people from all walks of […]

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Another View

David H. Fauss, M.S.M.

On October 30, 2013

Category: Partnerships, Work-Life

It is sometimes difficult to remember the need to have some personal, alone, time.  Working with one’s significant other really creates a need to have some personal time.  We know some husband/wife teams who share offices, or even desks, but that is too much for us.  So finding a balance that works for each person […]

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