Is it time to “Turtle Up”?

Is it time to “Turtle Up”?

What a March it has been – as a restaurant manager told me last night, while I was picking up some takeout from his 200 plus seat restaurant,  no way did he ever think he would be in the pickup and delivery only business

…just a week ago.

One week – from 200 seats to pickup and delivery only – that’s pretty incredible

He had a choice –

He could have “Turtled up” – pulled in his head, legs and little stubby tail – and locked that shell up water and airtight – held his breath and hoped it all would go away

  • He could have laid off everyone
  • He could have cut out everyone’s health insurance
  • He could have stopped paying his rent
  • He could have stopped buying supplies

He could tell everyone:

  • “The Government will take care of You”
  • “See you when it’s Back to Normal”
  • “Take Care”

He could have chosen to “Turtle up”

But he didn’t

  • He is figuring out a way to sell his food to customers that need to be fed
  • He is figuring out a way to pay his rent and his utilities – in a space that, mostly, he is not allowed to use
  • He is figuring out a way to keep his employees working
  • He is figuring out a way to keep buying his supplies and supporting other businesses
  • He is figuring out a completely new way to keep moving forward

For sure, he still is a turtle right now – after being a rabbit just last week – but you know what, he is out of his shell – his head is up and looking forward to opportunity, his legs are moving him forward, one small, slow step at a time, but still moving.  That little stubby tail, it’s out, maybe not swinging side to side, or keeping beat with the music playing, but out of his shell!

He chose to keep going – he stopped – made a plan – and went to work

What are you choosing right now? 

Are you choosing to “Turtle Up” or are you choosing to put out whatever legs you have and figure out a way to start moving forward?

Over the last week and a half, I have been meeting and talking with dozens of small businesses owners and managers about “What’s Next” and I know there is a lot of fear and confusion about what to do.

That is normal

It is normal to not know what to do next – no one really does – with absolute certainty.

There is no doubt this Pandemic is unprecedented in our lifetimes – but I also know that even in the past 20 years – we made it through 9/11 and the global financial meltdown and recession of 2009 – 2012 …

Not to mention the global recession of 1991 – I lived and worked through

The great depression our parents (or grandparents) made it through…

But every time we made it through – not unscarred –we as individuals and businesspeople – we learned a lot.. we learned a lot more about ourselves and our businesses.

  • We learned how to make it work
  • How to keep and pay our employees
  • How to pay our rent, utilities and health insurance
  • How to get new customers, when old customers closed or went away
  • How to pay the bank…or how to keep them from taking everything we had….
  • How to say “There is Way” when there was “No Way” – and I do mean “No Way”
  • How to keep going, when everyone else “Turtled Up”, shut up or just plain quit

Because of the pain – the trauma – the losses – personal and financial – we are all better managers – we are better business owners – we simply are better people.

Is it time to “Turtle Up”?

For some reading this…maybe it is…I am sorry to see you give up.

But for those of you – like me – who refuse to “Turtle Up” – it is time to lead the way to “returning to normal” – whatever that “New Normal” is going to be.

  • Let’s figure out a way – even when there is “No Way”:
  • To keep as many employees working as possible – at full pay
  • To pay our supplier bills and help keep them and their employees in business
  • To pay our employee health insurance
  • To pay our rent, mortgage payments, utilities
  • To support and serve the customers that are depending on us to be there, when they need us

To Not “Turtle Up”, quit, give up or even give in

To Plan for a Future, that is still on the Horizon, but coming tomorrow, for sure

Customer demand might be a little (or a lot) slow right now (I know for some non-existent); but, end of the day – Your Business – My Business – only exists to serve customers with excellence – not just when everything is easy and money is “printing” but, even more so, when they need us, when they are scared and when we (ourselves, our businesses ) are barely getting by.

Figure out a way – that’s the job as a business owner and manager– to serve and support the customer – to keep employees working – to pay our bills – no matter what. 

Our mutual tomorrows depend on You and Me finding a way, some way, any way to keep moving forward, to lead without fear, to Not “Turtle Up”.

Head up, legs moving, tail out.  Let’s start moving our businesses, our employees, and ourselves forward.

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