How to Innovate with Compassion with Emmanuel Acho

Over the past two years the world has been turned upside down amid the pandemic. Some of those most hard hit by the impacts of the pandemic have been small business owners. Emmanuel Acho sat down with us to offer some encouragement to help business owners find their footing along the way. Here are some practices, observations, and nuggets of wisdom that guided Acho through these tough changes while building his small business. 

The Rules Have Changed

The world, from a business perspective, is fundamentally changed. For example, Acho said, prior to the pandemic as a TV host, it was mandatory for him to leave his house and attend meetings at the television studio. Now Acho and his team use a conference call for production meetings.

When and where we do business has changed. If there are parts of business that can be done remotely, during flexible hours or without in-person interactions, it’s important to consider evaluating.

Adapting Business is Key

One example Acho mentions are restaurants. They figured out the insurance, and transitioned their hosts and hostesses into delivery drivers during the height of the pandemic.

This was a smart way to avoid using a third-party app like DoorDash or UberEats. These restaurants adapted their own resources in a way that kept their businesses alive. 

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Tap into Your Network

‘Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man’ may have looked like a solo act on camera. In reality, Acho reached out to his network to help him get it off the ground. He called a wedding photographer who ended up filming for him. His best friend, an Olympic Gold Medalist, stood in as his producer. And the studio where he recorded is where he hosted his last birthday party.

So many people were integral to making his dream of creating “Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man” a reality. That collaborative effort led to people like Matthew McConaughey and Oprah Winfrey reaching out to become part of the journey. 

To get those gains, Emmanuel had to find his community. Then he had to team up and partner with his community.  

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” 

– African Proverb

Cultivate Community

You might be wondering how you find community, especially at this time. Have you ever heard that we are the sum of the five people who are closest to us?

Acho played in the NFL, and he says that he was by no means a “star”. So now, his community is cultivated based upon his actions. 

Now Acho has a set of celebrity friends that didn’t come from his days as an NFL player. Instead, people saw his mindset. Find people who are like-minded. 

There are people trying to change the world in your space. These are the people with whom you should build your community. People are suffering and going through deeply personal things. That is why empathy should be the heart of your community.

Keep Moving Forward

Take your time to mourn. Take your time to be sad. After you spend that time, move forward and try to create that next dream. 

Figure out that next objective you have, and go back to conquer. Keep moving.

Watch Emmanuel Acho’s full talk – part of our free business recovery program, Back to Biz. Get access to over 400 business lessons when you signup.

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