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Beating a Bad Rap

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

Just a few years ago, polls and surveys showed that the vast majority of Americans admired business leaders, especially entrepreneurs. TV shows, radio programs, magazines and dozens (if not hundreds) of books celebrated your management and leadership styles, the secrets of your success and any pearls of wisdom you deigned to share.

And then the bubble of invincibility burst. At first, it seemed like all this new business negativity was aimed at entrepreneurs. You, who had just been hailed as heroes, were now the villains. Apparently, it was your fault that many dotcoms failed (even if they were started by greedy opportunity- seekers masquerading as entrepreneurs). The people who had forked over fistfuls of cash to businesses without plans (or even reasons to exist) blamed you, even as you studiously followed your business plans, and turned off their money spigots. Then, as if to seal the deal, the economy and the stock market plunged, taking lots of people's plans, money and hopes along with them.

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