You’ve probably heard the old saying, “What doesn’t kill you makes you strong.” Or “No pain; no gain.” Ask anyone who’s been in business a while and they’ll tell you, you learn from your failures. Those who struggle with a new idea, testing and tweaking it through multiple incarnations until they get it right enjoy a sense of accomplishment unknown to those who simply luck into an idea, though not to imply that there’s no joy in the occasional “gift.” Sometimes, but not often, we get it right the first time. Usually, though, success is a matter of hard work and sacrifice. Perhaps that’s what makes success taste so sweet.

Celebrating Failure: The Power of Taking Risks, Making Mistakes and Thinking Big by Ralph Heath (Career Press, 2009, paperback, 191 pages, $9.26 on is a smart book and a quick read. Heath’s message is to stop punishing mistakes, yours and your employees’, and start learning from them. Emphasize the learning, not the error, and move on. By embracing our failures we strip them of power. As he points out, the people who make mistakes are the same people who succeed.

Trade-Off: Why Some Things Catch On, and Others Don’t by Kevin Maney (Broadway, 2009, hardcover, 217 pages, $15.64 on explores why some ideas succeed and others fail. Maney contends the magic formula is a combination of targeting your market correctly and staying true to your goal. Many businesses fail because they don’t make the mutually exclusive choice between convenience (low cost + easy use) and fidelity (premium quality + exclusivity). As he notes, a low-end Mercedes won’t sell, nor would a 5-course McDonalds meal.

The bottom line is deciding what need you want to meet and staying true to your game plan. You can’t be all things to all people. Success often comes fastest when you narrow your goal to meet a specific need. That’s been our experience at DJ Products. Our ergonomically designed carts and tugs won’t do everything, but they do a superior job of getting things from point A to point B without straining taxing your workers. Find out more at DJ