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Pablo Fuentes

Pablo Fuentes is the CEO of Proven. He is a graduate of the Stanford Graduate School of Business and UCLA. He is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner and a blues guitar player and builder.

Recent Posts

Urban Farming: The Challenge of Producing Food in a City | Urban Roots Farm

Posted by Pablo Fuentes on July 5, 2017

There are a ton of benefits to urban farming. 

Local food, farm to table, 100 mile diet, all of this is possible with urban agriculture. Further, urban gardens are often built over abandoned spaces in cities, converting them into green space, helping increase the beauty and value of the neighborhood.

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Third Man Records and the Vinyl Revival. From Jack White to a Pressing Plant.

Posted by Pablo Fuentes on June 28, 2017

CD and digital sales are declining as music lovers turn to streaming services like Pandora and Spotify, yet vinyl records sales have grown 260% since 2009.

We are in the midst of a vinyl revival.

Third Man Records, a record label founded by musician Jack White, has been on the ground floor of this renewed interest in vinyl. 

Vinyl, more than any other medium, has a timeless appeal, it's tactile. Ben Blackwell of Third Man Records, says that people have a strong connection to what vinyl means in their lives, it's a lifestyle. 

To help us dig further into why people have started buying vinyl againthe background of Third Man Records, we spoke with Ben Blackwell, who shared some amazing stories in today's edition of Small Business War Stories.

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Giving Back: How Community Involvement Impacts Your Business | Mother's Brewing Co.

Posted by Pablo Fuentes on June 21, 2017

Small businesses can give a lot to a community and in turn, those communities help support those businesses.

Community involvement helps further distinguish your business from competitors and helps create customer loyalty.

At Mother's Brewing Company in Springfield, Missouri, owner and operator Jeff Schrag sees it as their responsibility to the community to help local non-profits move further with their missions.

By donating free beer to various fundraising events and charities, Mother's has established itself as a community-minded brewery. They hate to say no to anyone and this unique perspective paired with a fantastic product has helped Mother's establish itself as a must-visit location for beer lovers.

Today, we are happy to share with you our interview with Jeff Schrag of Mother's Brewing Company's as the latest episode of Small Business War Stories.

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Becoming a Guitar Builder | SLJ Guitars

Posted by Pablo Fuentes on June 14, 2017

Many of us dream of ditching our desk jobs in favor of a workshop. Working with our hands, crafting something out of wood or some other material. Something physical, something real.

Seth Lee Jones worked at Whole Foods for 6 years while on the side building up his business as a guitar maker. Eventually he had to leave his day job because he had enough people beating down his door with requests for guitar work.

He now builds builds 25 to 30 custom instruments a year and a handful of acoustic guitars.

The journey to becoming a full time luthier or guitar maker, is not an easy one.

Today, we are happy to share with you Seth Lee Jones's story as the latest episode of Small Business War Stories.

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Starting a Kid-Focused Retail Business | Magpies

Posted by Pablo Fuentes on June 7, 2017

Nearly a quarter of the U.S. population consists of people under the age of 18.

Kids, more than any time in our history, are influencing the spend of household income. Kids influence an estimated $500 billion in household spending.

Further, spend on kids products is growing rapidly. Products targeting children between the ages of 4 and 12 are now responsible for $40 billion in revenue.

Children and their parents are savvy consumers and there's great opportunities for those entrepreneurs looking to build a kid-focused business. To help us explore this topic further, we spoke with Maggie Tucker of Magpies Baby and Magpies Girl to discuss how she has built two successful kid-focused retail businesses.

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Modernizing the Vinyl Record Pressing Industry | Hand Drawn Records

Posted by Pablo Fuentes on May 31, 2017

There's something special about vinyl records.

The feel, smell, look and sound all seem richer and more authentic than digital music.

In 2016, stores sold 13 million records, the highest volume of vinyl sales in the past three decades. We are in the midst of a vinyl revival.

Vinyl record pressing companies can barely keep up with the demand. Most pressing companies are relying on restored equipment from the 70s and 80s, which is slow and error prone.

However, Hand Drawn Records is modernizing this process. They are using the first pieces of modern technology designed for record pressing. Their presses are controlled by computers, reducing error rate and speeding up the pressing process 3x. 

Today, on Small Business War Stories, we are joined by John Snodgrass from Hand Drawn Records to discuss how they are revolutionizing the vinyl pressing industry.

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The Secret to Selling to Small Businesses | Precision Payments

Posted by Pablo Fuentes on May 24, 2017

Selling to small businesses is different than selling to large corporations or consumers.

A small business has a unique set of needs.

These businesses do not have purchasing experts on staff or vendor managers whose sole responsibility is to make deals happen. Instead, the decision maker at a small business is typically wearing many hats and hearing your sales pitch might be a stretch for them.

The good news is that with small businesses, a lot of the time the sales cycle will be much shorter. There are fewer people involved with the decision and less red tape to work through. 

However, establishing trust is extremely important. Small business owners can be loyal to a fault. Also, while the majority of businesses in the U.S. are small businesses, sourcing and reaching this long tail of potential customers in a cost-effective way can be very difficult. 

To help us dive into the secrets of marketing and selling to small businesses, we talked with Alison Burns founder of Precision Payments. Her company has been successfully selling their credit card processing and merchant services to small business since 2013.

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Small Business & Community, Rebuilding Detroit | Motor City Java House

Posted by Pablo Fuentes on May 17, 2017

Nearly 100 years ago, Detroit was poised to become a major American industrial city. Cars, new factories and an eager workforce helped put Detroit on the map.

A lot has changed since the early 20th century.

After some very rough years, small businesses are helping to restore economic viability and community in Detroit. The once booming factory scene is being replaced by a booming small business scene.

We are very lucky to have spoken with one such small business owner, Alicia George, owner and operator of Motor City Java House.

She began working with Motor City Blight Busters 17 years ago to help revitalize and develop commercial destinations in her neighborhood in Detroit.

In 2003, inspired by the idea of having a local community coffee shop, she started work on opening Motor City Java House. It took over five years to open, relying on the help of volunteers and the local community to help raise money for renovations.

She would raise money, then do work and then have to stop. But her patience paid off, she's now operating a thriving business with no debt and is an amazing example and a positive influence for her neighborhood. 

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Brand Marketing: Tell Your Story! Or Others Will Do It For You | Flow Nonfiction

Posted by Pablo Fuentes on May 10, 2017

Brand marketing and storytelling are essential components to creating a great company brand that will grab people's attention.

With the growth and adoption of technology, we have more potential mediums than ever to reach people with our brands.

However, the downside is there's a ton of competition and we really only have about 10 seconds to grab someone's attention.

Our stories need to be concise. Effective storytelling is about staying out the way, being authentic, being patient and keeping it simple.

Today, on Small Business War Stories, we talked with David Rice from Flow Nonfiction about how he helps big brands tell stories of their philanthropic work in a way that does not feel contrived.

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Making it in the Classic Car Junkyard Business | CTC Auto Ranch

Posted by Pablo Fuentes on May 3, 2017

In 1985 David Williamson and his brother were struggling to make their used car sales business work.

After failing to sell a 1947 Dodge pickup truck multiple times, even going as far as to offer it for as little as $300, they got the bright idea of trying to sell just parts from the truck.

They listed an ad for truck parts in a motor news magazine, and what had been an impossible vehicle to sell, became a hot commodity. They ended up selling parts from that old truck for $3,000 and realized there was a lot of money in just selling parts.

Those were the modest beginnings of CTC Auto Ranch; now they are one of largest classic car junkyards in the country. Starting with just 80 cars, they now have over 4,000 classic cars and sell parts all over the world.

Today, on Small Business War Stories, we talked with David Williamson from CTC Auto Ranch about his start and success in the classic car junkyard business.

Read the full article >>

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