Business owners in every industry have got a “once-in-a-century” opportunity to learn on the spot during the Covid-19 outbreak, says Mushtaque Ahmed.

The JJ Foodservice Chief Operating Officer has seen the business change almost overnight as coronavirus took hold of the UK, but believes that one nugget of positivity people can take is the chance to grow.

Ahmed was speaking as part of TWC’s latest Sound Bites vlog and is trying to stay optimistic by picking out key learnings that will help after the crisis has subsided.

“You’d pay a lot of money to go a session from a top university to learn a lot of these things,” said Ahmed in the interview carried out by TWC Development Director, Tom Fender.

“But this is, in my positive mind, an opportunity for the whole management team of every business in the world and we’re getting it for free.

“Rather than looking at as doom and gloom, it teaches us quite a few things: survival of the fittest, tells us how to manage any kind of disastrous situation and how to optimise it to the level where you can manage a situation where you have no business to having three times more business.

“For retail, their business has grown maybe 10 or 20 fold – nobody could prepare for this sort of thing, so they’re testing their systems and so are we.”

JJ Foodservice has been one of the most proactive businesses within the wholesale sector, launching click and collect, home delivery and same-day delivery services over recent weeks.

And as the business quickly adapted to attract new customers from the general public into JJ, the wholesaler not only morphed its offering, but adapted its marketing approach to hit consumers.

Listen to Ahmed’s full interview on TWC’s Sound Bites

But after quickly mastering the basics and nimbly changing approaches as they learned, Ahmed says JJ isn’t seeing all this time and effort as a short-term win, with the wholesale now intending to maintain its consumer service post-Covid-19 too.

“It’s been a blessing in disguise because we have found this new avenue that we may not have been bold enough to explore in the past,” he added.

“So now we’re in it and we’re learning the pro and cons and dos and don’ts, we see it as another sector of the market to stay and explore and improve on.

“We don’t see it [selling to consumers] as a short-term thing and it might not have been an area we would have proactively explored under normal circumstances. But the fact that this has now happened, it is definitely a nice thing to have on top of everything else and gives us the business diversification.”

Watch the full interview on TWC’s Sound Biteswhich includes chats with a host of industry figures.