One of the most ancient creatures on our planet is the turtle.

They have survived changing environmental conditions for millions of years, while many other species have gone extinct.

Turtles can be very safe and secure when threatened by retracting their head, tail and legs into their shell to ride out many dangers of life in the wild. But, if they stayed safe in their shell, they would eventually starve to death and would not be able to create subsequent generations. 

For turtles to flourish, they have to accept the risk of living and give up the safety of their shell, stick out their necks, and move forward… or perish. It’s the same for businesses.

Businesses are just like turtles. They only move forward when they accept the risk of existing in a competitive marketplace and then change to meet the needs and desires of the future. It may be uncomfortable, it may be terrifying, but it is necessary.

Successful businesses manage change, for the most part, very carefully. They are continually taking the pulse of their customers and their targeted prospects. They continually ask the question, “What are my customers and prospects wanting and needing? What will they want and need in the future?  How can we change in order to have the right products and services for them and still continually strengthen our brand, our reputation, and the qualities we are known for?

They are balancing the safety of the shell against the risk of moving forward.

In large companies there are workgroups or teams of turtles that are sticking out their necks by working continually on answering those questions, developing new products and services to offer in the future. 

Few small companies have the luxury of being able to devote these resources to the process of change so when the subject of “the future” comes up, they retreat into their shells and deal with the issues of “today” where they feel safe and comfortable; not realizing that they are facing the very real possibility of becoming extinct as the world passes them by. 

So stick out your neck — but do it carefully.

Larry Galler specializes in coaching owners of small businesses to grow their business through effective marketing, customer retention programs and systemizing their business practices. Explore how he can help you during a free coaching session by calling (219) 464-9463 or e-mail Need a free assessment to measure your 'Culture of Excellence'? Just send an email to Put “Excellence” in the subject line. Visit his website at