More than 40 years ago, John Duncan left his job selling calculators to establish Sharp Electronics Group in Newcastle with a fellow salesman. With a background in early computer programming and operations, John tapped into his experiences to create a thriving business.

Now managing director of a locally owned business that has decades of experience and approximately 60 employees, John discussed with The CEO Magazine the challenges of building the company from the ground up, the changing nature of the industry, and the future for Sharp Electronics.

“"In the early days, obviously we had no money. My business partner and I were both young married men in our mid twenties with young children, and our wives didn'’t work, so we were the only breadwinners for the family. Essentially, to try and start a business, buy stock and sell stock, and live off the profits but retain enough profits to grow the business so you'’ve got more stockholdings and greater choice of stockholdings for customers, was very, very difficult for probably the first five years. I think, even to this day, anybody who starts a new business knows those first five or six years are critical to the survival and future of the company. That was probably the most difficult thing."”