Jazz musician Alan Pound originally created sound mixing equipment out of a garage in the late 70s to sell through trade magazines. But in 1988, after buying out a partner, Pound moved into digital telephony hardware and software, specialising in the European telecommunications market. He hasn’t looked back. Sales have grown from £1.8m in 1994 to £9.4m in 1997. Exports have played a significant role, accounting for 70% of turnover. The Buckinghamshire-based company makes products for clients in over 40 countries and has offices in Germany, Australia, and the US. Pound credits much of the company’s success to having picked a profitable niche in an area where he says there’s little competition and high margins and barriers to entry. Aculab is one of the more profitable companies on the list. Return on sales equalled 31% in 1997.
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