When British Telecommunications’ monopoly was being dismantled in the 1980s, Gerry Leighton used £7,000 from the sale of his house to set up as a telecoms equipment supplier. Banks refused him money, so Leighton focused Walsall-based Auto Tronics on selling used equipment. His break came in 1991, with the first British licence to compete against BT for maintenance work. Leighton won clients by offering to deliver big savings through a free analysis of their communications. Contracts to supply, manage and service networks followed and have driven up Auto Tronics’ sales by 114% a year, from £398,000 in 1996 to £3.9m in 1999.
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