According to some sources, the failure rate of small businesses within the first 18 months is as high as 80 percent. Given this statistic, starting a new business is never something to be taken lightly. But amidst an O&P landscape that includes shrinking reimbursements, the ever-present threat of Medicare audits, changing regulatory requirements, and overall changes in healthcare policy, launching a new O&P practice may seem more daunting than ever before. The O&P EDGE  asked practitioners who have taken this leap in the past few years to share their tales from the front lines and what they've learned in this era of both opportunity and uncertainty.

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Before you find yourself in the trenches, writing a business plan is essential, entrepreneurs agree. It outlines the ownership and organizational structure of your proposed company; provides a funding request (if you are seeking financing) and financial projections; details the nature of your business and the market demand for your product or service; and includes a market analysis and your marketing strategy. The new business owners we spoke to shared stories of the variety of strategies and resources they used to approach this beginning stage of their endeavors.

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