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National Interests

Entrepreneurship isn't all about money--it's nothing less than the American way.

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This story appears in the September 2002 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Last November, Dan Belyeu made the toughest decision any entrepreneur can make: He decided to lay off all the employees at his Mount Pleasant, Tennessee, company, Innovex Kayak Corp. Although poor sales sparked by the recession and exacerbated by the effects of September 11 forced the layoffs, Belyeu isn't giving up on his company. Here, he explains why.

For 12 years, I owned a successful computer consulting firm. Our inventory was knowledge. We had no product, only advice and expertise. I believe we added a valuable service to our clients (and with billing rates up to $175 per hour, they must have thought so as well). Then one day it hit me: "You've got to make something. You've got to have a product. You can't move bits of information around and call that production. You have to give something back." Family and friends thought I had lost my mind when I sold my successful business to start a new company.

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