Small Business War Stories

Small businesses are the soul of America. This is where they tell their stories. Small Business War Stories is a weekly show recorded in person with small business owners. We discuss different topics and get the triumphs, struggles, and funny stories from our guests' everyday lives. Hosted by Pablo Fuentes, an entrepreneur and musician based in Austin, Texas.
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Aug 21, 2019

Amy Dee got to Nashville and could not find what she wanted: A no-frills spot with a vintage vibe to listen to great country and blues music. 

So she used all of her experience working in bars in New York City and all over the land to create Dee's Country Cocktail Lounge.

She currently works with Daniel Walker, a great musician who is in charge of booking great acts for the venue, and what was a dream is now a reality.

Dee's Lounge has an amazing vibe that is hard to pout into words...although we try our hardest in today's episode.

Aug 15, 2019

Lindsey Hein is the awesome host of "I'll Have Another with Lindsey Hein, a successful podcast about running.

We talk about what it takes to make it as a podcaster, but her lessons are applicable to all creators, small businesses, and fans of good stories in general.

Aug 8, 2019

David Miller has decades of experience coaching small businesses, and he has seen a LOT.

Today's episode is like sitting down with will get decades of experience in under an hour....and you'll want to have a notepad!

How do you make something the market wants? What exactly is luck? How can you maximize your chances of getting lucky?

If you are serious about learning about how to run a small won't want to miss this episode.


Jul 31, 2019

What, exactly, is an HBIC? I didn't know until I met Stacy Ward Lattin, THE HBIC at Hopping Gnome.

What are Stacy and her husband doing right in the increasingly exciting Wichita scene?

What is Stacy's podcast about, and what else is she doing to inspire women entrepreneurs?

All of this and more in today's show.

Jul 24, 2019

How did a small cafe in a strip mall in Nashville become a mecca for songwriters?

What happened that changed the fortunes of the Bluebird from barely surviving to thriving? (hint: it was a major TV show).

Which major celebrities let their hair down and come hang out and trade songs here?

All of this and more in today's episode!


Jul 17, 2019

Julia Miller is a badass woman. Together with her partner Elbio, Julia is carrying forward the legacy of Delmark Records, an iconic Chicago label.

What are the challenges of being a record label in the 21st century?

What are Julia's plans to build upon the success of Delmark?

All of this and more in today's episode.

Jul 10, 2019

What inspired Peter to start a fitness equipment business?

What are the books that Peter reads and the actions that Peter takes to help him discover his own blind spots?

How did Peter overcome a painful change in his business involving a family member?

All of this and more in today's show.

Jul 3, 2019

What was Brian's journey to become a successful artist?

How did he end up selling his pieces at Willie Nelson's ranch?

How does Brian make sure he has something to offer to people with any level of budget?

All of this and more in today's episode!

Jun 26, 2019

What makes Silas Pollitt want to uproot everything and move every few years?

What are the differences between working at high-end restaurants and starting your own pizza restaurant in a town of 5,000 people in Northern Vermont?

What is it about the restaurant industry that attracts "misfits, pirates, and marauders" who tend to struggle with mental health issues?

All of this, jiu-jitsu, mushroom foraging, and more in today's episode.

Jun 19, 2019

Chicago Music Exchange has become an institution and a destination for guitar fans visiting The Windy City.

How did CME get here? How is the store surviving and thriving in an era where more and more people are buying instruments online?

What happens when an expensive guitar breaks?

Who are the celebrities who frequent CME?

Does CME really have a guitar in the store that is priced at over $250,000?

Great stories and plenty of laughs in today's episode!

Jun 13, 2019

Wow! We recorded an episode in the same room where Etta James recorded At Last...a new high for the show!

What is Willie Dixon's Blues Heaven Foundation?

Why did the Rolling Stones record their iconic record 12 x 5 in this room?

What kind of ghosts are in the building that housed Chess Records?

All of this and more in today's episode!

Jun 6, 2019

I finally got to interview a food truck owner!

And what a show it much gold in this one.

Why leave your well-paying job to start a food truck?

What makes is worthwhile? What are pitfalls to watch for?

This and more in today's episode.

May 29, 2019

Why was cutting part of his finger off a positive turning point for Patch Rubin?

Why do Thom Yorke of Radiohead, Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day and Gary Clark, Jr. love Wide Sky Guitars?

This episode follows Patch's path to becoming a guitar maker....and we also touch upon the psychology of bouncing back from setbacks and keeping going as a core value.


May 21, 2019

Have you ever wondered what you would do if you or your loved ones were harmed and needed your help?

Would you be an asset or a liability?

Justin Hurzeler and his partners started Atomic Legion to help regular people answer: "asset."

When he is not going on SWAT calls or riding an ambulance as a first responder, Justin uses Atomic Legion as a vehicle to share his knowledge about trauma response, rappelling, firearms, self-defense, butchering of animals, and many other skills.

What is the Vanguard? What kind of person attends Atomic Legion events? How has Justin seen people transform as they learn?

All of this and more in today's episode.

May 16, 2019

We are excited to have Mike and Jordan back on the show!

Two years ago, we sat down with the founders of GoodWood NOLA to talk about their growing shop and the way they are impacting the custom furniture design and fabrication space.

What happened with their business in those two years? Why are they getting a bigger shop? What has gone right and wrong?

Check out today's episode to learn more!

May 8, 2019

Jane and Bob went through a lot to open their high-end wine and spirits shop just steps from Frenchmen St. in New Orleans.

What happened that almost derailed their opening?

What amazing musicians have played the stories Steinway piano in their home?

All of this and more in today's episode.

May 2, 2019

Josh used his marketing chops to grow his family's HVAC business into a multi-million dollar operation.

How did he do it? How did he use reviews to power his growth?

Josh teaches you all of his secrets and shares his stories from the front line of small business marketing in today's episode.

Apr 24, 2019

Nic and Diane Atwood are serious about real estate in Austin. They work closely with their clients and they help people find special opportunities and off-market properties.

They are also awesome people, and connect the community through a weekly open mic they host in South Austin.

Which major artists launched their career at the Irie Bean open mic? What crazy transaction stories do Nic and Diane have to share?

All of this and more in today's episode.

Apr 17, 2019

Matt Richards takes old wooden radios from the early 20th century and turns them into guitar amplifiers.

We sat down with Matt at a special time in his journey....he is making the leap to Square Amps being his full-time pursuit.

What is it like to source old radios? How does an introvert look at self-promotion? Who are some of the artists who have played Square Amps?

All of this and more on today's episode.

Apr 11, 2019

SouthPop is an Austin institution! The South Austin Museum of Popular Culture is a funky, colorful, and amazing non-profit.

Leea Mechling and her team serve as keepers of the torch for the history of popular culture in Austin, a city with a rich trove of stories, characters, songs, and art.

What is it like to run a non-profit? What happens when the pipes break? What crazy stories has Leea been witness to?

All of this and more in today's episode.

Apr 3, 2019

Noel Escobar is a craftsman and bootmaker in Austin, Texas. He was born into the trade in South Texas, and has established himself as a presence in Austin for decades.

Why do celebrities and everyday people from all over the world visit Noel to have custom boots made by him? What does Noel do to foster community? What kinds of events does he host? All of this and more in today's episode.

Mar 27, 2019

What a special episode! Colorado whiskey, great conversation, and an original song at the end.

Th podcast itself was fantastic, and talked about dealing with the psychology of the blank page, getting out of our own way, and how to create (and complete) things/projects from scratch.

Make sure you stick around until the end...Nick will put goosebumps on your arms and a knot in your throat with his original song "SeƱorita."

Mar 20, 2019

Grant and Karen are living the dream. And they also have their struggles, like all of us. 

In this episode, they share their story of how they became an in-demand guitar pedal company. From Grant's days as a touring drummer, to Karen's visual design skills, to the way they use social media and Google Analytics to grow their business.

They also have some cool music stories and mighty challenges that they have overcome in their journey.

This is a very inspirational episode...Grant nor Karen knew anything about how to make guitar pedals when they they have a thriving business!

Mar 13, 2019

Brett and his brother just won't give up. When their original idea for a drink had to be shelved because of a prohibitive required volume, they came up with another concept and successfully launched Moontower Matcha.

We talk about matcha tea, the ins and outs of starting a beverage company, how to find distributors, and we also dive into how to connect with social media influencers to promote your brand.

Lots of good tactics in this one!

Mar 6, 2019

Casey Carroll is really, really good at facebook ads. And it can be a complicated, overwhelming world.

In this episode, we dissect how to figure out what is important for you to get started with Facebook ads for your small business.

By the end of the episode, you will have a six-step guide that you can follow to tackle this seemingly daunting task.

You are good at learning things...learning this will transform your business!

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