5 steps for entrepreneurs to overcome fear in business

Many do not have the entrepreneurial mindset when we start a business.

Most people are born with entrepreneurial traits when they start their business.  Those traits are acquired along the way.  The biggest hurdle to overcome in your business usually is fear.  Despite wanted to succeed in life this fear holds us back to do what we want to do.  Here are five steps to overcome fear in business.

 

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Faith in Homeownership Drops

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Far fewer people today feel home ownership is a safe investment

Despite turbulence in the housing market during the past three years, most people still think homeownership is important and preferable to renting, but many remain skeptical that home prices will rebound soon, according to a survey by Fannie Mae to be released Tuesday.
The survey is Fannie Mae’s first attempt to gauge how the foreclosure crisis has affected public attitudes about homeownership. The crisis was unprecedented in many aspects, including the widespread decline in home values and the prevalence of risky subprime loans, company officials said.
With some homeowners feeling burned by the housing crisis, the survey found that many people are less likely to take risks related to buying a home.
“We have been through a serious dislocation of the housing market,” said Mike Williams, Fannie Mae’s chief executive. “What we’re trying to determine is what are the effects for consumers.”
Among the major shifts the survey found is that the public is less likely to view a home as a safe investment. In 2003, 83 percent of those interviewed in a similar study by Fannie Mae said real estate was a safe investment, compared with about 70 percent in the most recent survey.
“That is one of the big changes we have seen in attitudes. We need to figure out whether this is a sustainable shift,” said Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae’s vice president and chief economist.
The survey was conducted this winter on Fannie’s behalf by research firms Oliver Wyman and Penn Schoen Berland and included interviews with more than 3,000 people, most of them homeowners.
About 48 percent of those surveyed said that banks should foreclose on people who are unable to pay their mortgages. A softer attitude was reflected if the homeowners in trouble owed more than their home was worth, a situation known as being underwater. But most of those surveyed, 53 percent, blamed homeowners, not mortgage lenders, for taking out loans they could not afford, the survey shows.
However, lenders should bear a significant portion of the blame for the housing crisis, according to the Center for Responsible Lending. The group has compiled data showing that most homeowners with subprime loans could have qualified for more traditional mortgages but were steered toward riskier and more expensive products by brokers who got paid more to do so.
“It’s the job of lenders to assess whether a borrower can afford the loan, and while people may make mistakes in assessing their ability to afford a loan, the responsibility and knowledge lay with the lender,” said Julia Gordon, a senior policy council at the center. “Lenders make loans every day. Lenders know how to underwrite a loan. People buy a house only a couple of times in their life.”
More than a third of homeowners surveyed said they were concerned about their ability to pay all of their debts, and most thought they had not saved enough money. A quarter of homeowners surveyed listed other debts, including utility bills and car loans, as priorities over paying mortgages. That challenges the conventional wisdom that says homeowners will skip a credit card or car payment before becoming delinquent on a mortgage, Duncan said.
The survey also tried to measure public attitudes about the growing number of underwater homeowners, whose higher risk for foreclosure has worried the banking industry. Most people do not think it is acceptable for borrowers to walk away from a home simply because they are underwater.
But respondents’ views softened if the homeowner was facing a financial hardship, the survey shows. About 15 percent of respondents said it is acceptable for underwater owners to walk away from their home if they are in financial distress, compared with 8 percent in general. Borrowers delinquent on their mortgage are the most likely to be sympathetic to underwater borrowers walking away from their home.
“Why so little sympathy for their struggling neighbor, who may have lost a job and be faced with the gut-wrenching reality that they can no longer afford their mortgage?” said Brent T. White, a University of Arizona law school professor who has studied underwater borrowers. “The double standard could not be clearer: When corporations walk away from a bad investment, it is called a good business decision. But when homeowners do the same thing, they are seen as immoral.”

Despite turbulence in the housing market during the past three years, most people still think homeownership is important and preferable to renting, but many remain skeptical that home prices will rebound soon, according to a survey by Fannie Mae to be released Tuesday.

Continue reading… “Faith in Homeownership Drops”

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Three Best Ways to Convert Web Traffic Into Sales

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Switching Traffic to the Sales Lane

These days, the tech-savvy small business is using search engine optimization to steer customers to its home page. But once those online visitors land, how do you get them to buy? Sure, you can pay a lot for site analytics that give you insights into those potential customers’ shopping habits. But small-business owners now have a variety of simple yet effective tools to tempt visitors into opening their wallets.
Here are the three best ways to convert Web traffic into sales:
1. Install a click-to-call feature. Body By Brooklyn Inc., a spa in Brooklyn, N.Y., had trouble getting people to reserve appointments online, so it turned to Karma Martell, chief executive of KarmaCom Inc., a New York interactive marketing company, for help. Ms. Martell suggested that the spa offer a more direct way to get customers to book spa times quickly and easily via a click-to-call widget on its Web site. Here’s how it works: Customers click the link. A box pops up. They insert a phone number and press a button. A short while later, customers receive a phone call, with the spa staff on the line. “It’s a fabulous way to get instant conversions,” Ms. Martell says. Mira Goldin, the spa’s owner, says she has a 5% to 10% conversion rate on the $250-a-year feature. The spa can also program its hours of operation so that the widget disappears when there’s no one available. Other click-to-call widgets are offered by Jajah, TringMe and Flaphone.
Using personal involvement to close a lead from the Web is smart, says Justin Kitch, chief growth officer for Intuit Inc.’s Small Business Group. “A little light human touch can have a big wow factor,” he says, “because the customer is not expecting it.”
2. Chat with customers online. In late April, home improvement e-tailer Improvement Direct Inc., of Chico, Calif., used a chat feature on its site to converse directly with customers about its products and services. The response was overwhelming. “We got flooded,” says Brandon Proctor, vice president of marketing. “We couldn’t believe how many chats we were getting.” In July alone, the company had more than 300 chats daily and converted them into sales at a rate of 9%. Although it had eight staffers answering the chats, the company was forced to temporarily shut the feature last month because of its popularity, Mr. Proctor says. The company is set to relaunch the chat feature, using Bold Software LLC’s BoldChat program, in the next week or two with more staffers. Cost: $15 to $200 per month, depending on the package.
For a free chat program, you can try Meebo Inc.’s chat program, just like Mike Gallagher, a golf club specialist and club fitter for TopGolf golf shop in Wood Dale, Ill. He also runs FittingBlog.com, where he installed Meebo’s chat widget a month ago. He chats with about five to 10 prospects daily and the number of fittings has risen nearly 20% in the past month. It’s “a way to better interact with our customers and have more of a one-to-one relationship with them,” says Mr. Gallagher, adding that the technology reassures customers who’re spending hundreds of dollars for a golf club fitting.
3. Offer a try-before-you-buy program. For the past three years, Brendan Quirk, owner of Competitive Cyclist, has seen a 60% conversion rate from its nationwide demo program, in which customers can try out a $4,500 bike before buying it. The Little Rock, Ark., high-end bike e-tailer has a fleet of about 175 bikes that it ships to anyone in the continental U.S. for a fee of $300. Customers try one for a week and have 14 days to buy the bike; if they do, they’ll get a $300 credit towards the purchase. The company sends out 600 bikes a year. Mr. Quirk says he’s taking out the No. 1 hurdle that’s preventing customers from taking the big leap: buyer’s regret.
By Raymund Flandez via wsj.com

These days, the tech-savvy small business is using search engine optimization to steer customers to its home page. But once those online visitors land, how do you get them to buy? Sure, you can pay a lot for site analytics that give you insights into those potential customers’ shopping habits. But small-business owners now have a variety of simple yet effective tools to tempt visitors into opening their wallets.

Here are the three best ways to convert Web traffic into sales:

Continue reading… “Three Best Ways to Convert Web Traffic Into Sales”

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What Matters Most to Mobile Users?

What Matters Most to Mobile Users?

Price has become an increasingly important factor, though still not the most important when choosing a wireless provider, according to a March 2008 comScore survey of US mobile phone users.

Coverage, price and family/friends connectivity were the three most important factors cited by respondents when choosing a wireless carrier, though coverage no longer has the commanding lead it once did.

Continue reading… “What Matters Most to Mobile Users?”

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