On the Couch: Dorothy & Ray Parker - 4Insight

On the Couch: Dorothy & Ray Parker – 4Insight


So, tell us what inspired you to get this off the ground?

We made a decision, about five years ago that we wanted to come to Jersey where we have relatives, and where we, and our two teenage boys, could experience the better quality of life and the island lifestyle. We had been visiting Jersey for over thirty years so we knew a fair amount about how things work, in general, but we needed time to assess how our business model could adapt. We also felt that there was a gap in the market for true qualitative marketing research and competitor intelligence. Finally, about two years ago, we approached Jersey Enterprise with a proposal and they helped us work our ideas through to a launch.


What did you do prior to starting 

this business?

We have a sister business in the UK that has been operating for over twenty years. We have relocated ourselves and some elements of this existing business to Jersey and in doing so have given our UK staff more responsibility. Before founding our own business, Dorothy worked for major corporations in brand management and marketing research roles within the healthcare and pharmaceutical fields whilst Ray held general management and financial positions in high-tech manufacturing.


Did that teach you any lessons that helped you succeed?

Our background has taught us a variety of great skills in marketing and management strategies and running a smaller business has built on these.  In project-based work, cash-flow is rarely even from month to month. Because of this, we have found it better to try to fund development out of our cash reserves as opposed to borrowings so that the business leaders can focus on growing the business for the medium term rather than having to constantly switch to address short-term funding requirements.


What’s the hardest lesson you’ve learnt since starting the business?

Since starting to establish our business, in Jersey, we have found that we need to allow more time for most things. As a result, it has taken us longer than we had planned to arrive at a launch with a leading-edge, fully-equipped viewing studio. We have also had to learn which is the fastest Heathrow-Gatwick connect.


Any funny stories that you have about the business starting out ?

We have had a lot of minor laughs along the way which eases the pressure of having to do many things all at the same time during our start up.


What are your plans for the future ?

We have a multi-year project here in Jersey which involves us recruiting and training up specialist staff in our qualitative Marketing Research and Competitor Research techniques and approaches. It will also involve the staff spending time at our sister company in Cheshire and out in the field in Europe, Asia and the USA gaining experience in live research situations. We have recently held the first demonstration at our Jersey Studio of some of our technical skills such as eye-tracking research and video-streaming. We intend to hold some more demonstrations of other aspects of our capabilities in the coming year.


What advice would you give to 

would-be entrepreneurs ?

When we first started up our original UK business Dorothy was full-time in it on projects and business development whilst Ray was part-time, evenings and weekends, doing the admin, books, cash and IT functions. These complementary elements of teamwork, in the early stages of the business were vital to allow the revenue-developing end to get things going without being overwhelmed by the myriad of minor tasks which are involved in operating any business. Our advice to would-be entrepreneurs is to get some experienced part-time business support around you early on to allow you to do what you do best, working up your ideas to a productive outcome. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you have to do everything all by yourself for it to be valid.

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