CHICAGO (CBS) — This a difficult time for businesses everywhere, and many are looking for creative ways to stay afloat.
As CBS 2’s Jim Williams reported Tuesday, some firms are changing the way they do business.
From restaurants stepping up deliveries, to companies selling new products and services, the coronavirus has forced firms to make enormous adjustments.
Jill Bishop’s firm, Multilingual Connections, is celebrating its 15th anniversary. But the celebration is not happening at the firm’s Evanston headquarters.
“They’re working globally and remotely,” Bishop said.
Employees are working at home, and connected by video, doing what they’ve always done – translations in 75 languages. Now, though, much of their focus is COVID-19.
“For government agencies, for schools, for companies that are trying to reach out to multilingual audience -so translating into Spanish and Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, other languages of communities they work in so everybody has access to the information they need,” Bishop said.
With economic distress everywhere, Chicago businesses are looking for ways to adjust. Leo Friedman’s company, iPromo.com, makes promotional items.
“We kind of hit a wall. This is way worse than ’08-’09 for us,” Friedman said. “How do you give out swag at events?”
The problem, of course, is that there are no events. So now, Friedman is retooling his company by importing merchandise in the fight against the coronavirus.
“Masks, hand sanitizer, thermometers – you name it, we got it now,” he said.
Jamie Migdal offers online learning for people in the pet industry.
“We have about a thousand subscribers to our platform,” said Migdal, of FetchFind. “They’ve had their businesses fairly decimated.”
Migdal has also pivoted, becoming an advocate for those businesses that care for pets.
“We’ve written letters to Congress, we’ve started online petitions, working for the industry where it stands right now and where we hope to supported to go in the future,” she said.
Firms big and small learning to be nimble and hoping to survive.
“It’s not the strongest who survive or the most intelligent,” Friedman said. “It’s the ones who adapt.”
Even though he’s changed his product line, Friedman said he’s still had to lay off employees. But the company is operating.