Teaching language has always come easy to Johanna Torres. With her advanced degree in communications, the former senior manager for one of the nation’s foremost language schools knew she had the expertise and teaching skills to start Language Loop: a business focused on helping others build their language skills.
Language Loop quickly grew to offer a variety of language classes six days per week, including ESL classes and TOEFL prep. Specialized vocabulary curricula are available for those focusing on expanding their language skills for use in hospitality, health, business, law, and construction.
Today, Torres and her teaching team serve a wide range of clients with tutoring services in 14 languages. Language Loop also offers a "Dive & Survive" immersion program providing five days of instruction and practice designed for frequent travelers.
“We don’t want Language Loop to be the biggest language school,” she says, “just the best.”
Torres contacted Chicago SCORE and began working with volunteer mentors Michael Koen and Roger Loeffler in both face-to-face and online mentoring sessions.
Over several months, Michael and Roger walked Torres through the mechanics of getting her business started: selecting a business structure; finding an office location in the West Loop neighborhood; hiring and compensating independent contractors, and focusing online and traditional marketing efforts.
Guidance from her mentors helped position Torres to approach businesses, schools, and organizations for group instruction and to intensify marketing efforts for individual instruction.
“Michael and Roger provided an incredible range of expertise,” Torres says. “Between them, they helped prepare me for a July 2006 opening. By October, I reached 25 percent of classroom capacity, which was far beyond my expectations for the first quarter of operation.”