Fitness Machine Firm on a Steady Jog

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Octane Fitness of Brooklyn Park is having a smooth, stable run despite the recession, hiring nine people last year and moving into larger offices.

David Deeds, director of the Morrison Center for Entrepreneurship and the Schulze Chair of Entrepreneurship at the University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business, said the owners are examples of businesspeople who saw an opportunity and had networks and contacts to help them succeed.

"The real lesson is that they have focused where they have their knowledge, their skills and their competencies," Deeds said. "What is smart is that they were flexible enough to recognize that the consumer market, given the downturn, was slow and flexible enough in their business model to move to the adjacent market to succeed."

While offering some diversification, the move into the commercial market for elliptical trainers raises their risk somewhat, Deeds said. "They do need to keep building on their core but looking at ways to diversify away enough so that they can build additional revenue streams," he said. "When you're in a fairly narrow niche, you run the risk of that niche being co-opted with a killer product or going away if consumer preferences change."

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Originally published: 02/27/2011, Star Tribune