A web designer by training, Chris Robinson never expected his entrepreneurial journey would take him down a path toward owning and operating a full-service creative firm.
The former technical college instructor taught website coding for five years while launching his business – which was originally just a website design and hosting company – but eventually drew requests from clients seeking additional marketing services.
Robinson found his knack for networking and making community connections attracted other like-minded graphic designers, copywriters and other marketing professionals who wanted to partner with him to fulfill Full Scope’s mission to help small businesses reach out to the rest of the world. In doing so, he’s been engaged in various community activities aimed at strengthening northeast Wisconsin’s business community and helping to make the region a better place to live.
How did you get started in business?
I had always wanted to run my own business since I was a kid. Two of my uncles had their own businesses, and I always wanted to run a business like them.
After high school I went to Northeast Wisconsin Technical College for website design and then worked for three years for another design company.
I had worked my way to about as high a level in that company as I figured I could and was ready for a new challenge. I started to teach website coding at NWTC in the spring semester of 2010, and that was when I started the company as well.
How did you learn business management?
For the first five years it was really just trial and error, learning from mistakes and getting better. Then in 2015 Full Scope Creative was selected as a protégé in the Green Bay Packer’s Mentor Protégé program and we were mentored by Schreiber Foods.
Throughout the course of that program I learned all about working on my business and building systems and processes to help the company. That was really a big turning point for the company and where I learned the most about the business side of Full Scope.
What services do you offer to clients?
We focus on website design, graphic design and website hosting for our clients. In addition, we can also help out with the copywriting for any project we’re working on.
We’ve got a couple of clients that work with us and think of it kind of as a one-stop shop for their marketing needs. Whether they are looking for website design, updates to their site, secure hosting, graphic design or proofreading a blog article, we can help out.
Does Full Scope cater to particular industries?
Our clients are in a pretty wide variety of industries from restaurants and retail to manufacturing and construction, transportation and logistics, as well as a waste management company.
While we don’t specialize in one industry, we do quite a bit of work with and for nonprofit groups. Nonprofits are by far my favorite to work with – they have so much passion for what they do, and getting to help them and the communities they serve is a lot of fun.
How much of your work is for nonprofits?
I’d say probably about 10 to 15 percent of our clientele is non-profit groups. Some of it is done as in-kind trade, but we always we give a discount on hosting and hourly rates.
Full Scope is really geared at working with small businesses, and because of that our price points work out great for non-profit groups as well.
How do you develop the network of vendors you partner with?
I’ve found all of my team members through different networking events and business activities that we’re involved in. For example, I’ve met vendors through my involvement the Green Bay Packers Mentor Protégé program, a marketing team meeting for the Green Bay Civic Symphony, and I even met my copywriter when I was getting coffee.
Each of my team members takes on a piece of the workload that is beyond my area of expertise, such as design and copywriting. I spend a lot of time getting to know my team members, whether it’s going out for coffee or lunch to learn more about them and strengthen the relationship.
What’s the most exciting project you’ve done?
There have been a lot of really fun projects. Obviously the site for Poppin’ Z’s Gourmet Popcorn was great. Not only was it a fun design with some really cool features – or the fact that I got to eat a lot of the delicious popcorn – but it’s also just such an amazing story with the company. It’s been a blast to help them share that story.
The sites for Howard Dental Center and Super Herd were also a lot of fun. Both of those sites have great videos that we put on the home pages and again, it’s so fun to be a part of the way different companies do business and the issues they work to solve.
How do you market your own business?
Networking events have been our biggest source of new clients. We obviously do a fair amount online, but I’ve met most of the clients we work with through different networking events I attend and professional organizations I am involved in.
When I’m at these networking events, I do my best to let people see what Full Scope Creative can do for them and why we are different from other design companies. By focusing on not just website design but also doing graphic design, copywriting and secure web hosting, I can easily market the company as that ‘one-stop shop’ for prospective clients.
What do you say to businesses who throw all their eggs in the social media basket?
First of all, I would say throwing eggs is never a good idea. But putting all your marketing into social media is a very risky move.
I hear from some businesses that say that they don’t have or need a website because they have a Facebook page. Since social media posts have a relatively short life span, there’s a good chance that only 10 percent of your audience will even see the posts you make. I’m by no means saying not to do social media, but you need to have a website to push users back to. That’s where key conversions can happen, whether it’s signing up for a company newsletter or making a purchase.
Furthermore, we have full control over what we do on a website. With any social media platform, there are going to be limits to what we can do. So yes, in today’s world, social media is a key part to a well-rounded marketing campaign, but social media is not a magic silver bullet to take care of all your marketing needs.