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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 vastmajority of Americans admired business leaders, especiallyentrepreneurs. TV shows, radio programs, magazines and dozens (ifnot hundreds) of books celebrated your management and leadershipstyles, the secrets of your success and any pearls of wisdom youdeigned to share.

And then the bubble of invincibility burst. At first, it seemedlike 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 ifthey were started by greedy opportunity- seekers masquerading asentrepreneurs). The people who had forked over fistfuls of cash tobusinesses without plans (or even reasons to exist) blamed you,even as you studiously followed your business plans, and turned offtheir money spigots. Then, as if to seal the deal, the economy andthe stock market plunged, taking lots of people's plans, moneyand hopes along with them.

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