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Omaha Company Takes Communication to Another Level

Amy Johnson, owner of Omaha, Nebraska based LifeLoop, is passionate about families being able to communicate with one another when they can’t be physically together. This passion led her to create LifeLoop – a resident and family engagement platform used by retirement homes, rehabilitation facilities and other such communities. The platform manages a wide range of functions including activity management, digital signage, resident tracking, communication, transportation, maintenance coordination and management, and includes an application for families and residents to communicate and share photos.

We first met Johnson back in 2015 when she entered and won the SBA Nebraska InnovateHER Business Pitch Competition hosted by the Rural Enterprise Assistance Project Women’s Business Center (REAP WBC). The WBC is a resource partner of the Small Business Administration and provides entrepreneurs with microloans, guidance and technical assistance. Johnson said that when she first started, she “had zero clue what she was doing in general.” The WBC walked her through the basics – putting slides together for her business pitch, getting her your message out clearly and being open to what people are looking for in products and services. “It was really helpful to have that resource available to see things from a different perspective and get guidance. We were building a product from a business to business standpoint so it was really great to have that perspective,” Johnson states.

LifeLoop has grown dramatically since those early days in 2015 and now has 12 employees. Johnson attributes some of that growth to pitching for the Rise of the Rest Competition in 2016. As the winner of that pitch competition, Johnson received an investment of $100k. Johnson was also the recipient of a prototyping grant through the Nebraska Business Development Center, another resource partner of the Small Business Administration. “Without that grant, we wouldn’t have started. That grant allowed us to create our minimal viable product and really start testing without having to raise capital. That was a huge win for us as a company. We used it to develop the product and kick everything off.”

And develop that product they did. LifeLoop is now in 42 states and they support hundreds of communities. Johnson gives full credit to her team of 12 employees for the company’s success. “My team is why I’m able to be successful,” she says. “[They] are a group of people that are very passionate about the mission and willing to dig in and do what it takes.  When you’re a start-up, that’s the key – you have to be willing to dig in and figure out what the problem is, and slowly chip away at it.” Johnson and her team are also constantly focused on feedback from their facilities and families. “The feedback is a large component of our success. What we do really well is truly listen to our clients and what problems they have and then solve them through research and talking to other clients. Is it an industry problem? Just that community’s problem? This is something we’ve done really well – listen, develop and get feedback.

Johnson has had challenges, too. She states that her biggest challenge has been “remaining flexible and open minded too. Lots of times people tend to know what should be built. One of the biggest challenges we have is to realize we are not that end user and we need to listen to those users and build something for them – not what we think is right.  That’s hard to do and it’s a challenge we’ve overcome.”

Johnson has two pieces of advice to entrepreneurs starting up their own businesses.  “A lot of people I talk to trying to start a company just get overwhelmed. I tell them, ‘just start. Just get going. You’re going to learn so much and change things a gazillion times, but just start. Take the leap.’ A lot of people tend to overthink. We just jumped in and that is scary to people, but we just did it.” Johnson also reiterated the importance of feedback.  “Have extreme empathy for what you’re building and listen to who you are building it for. Don’t have in mind exactly what you think it should be and always get more feedback.”

LifeLoop has come far since Johnson pitched her dream to the Women’s Business Center in 2015. The SBA is proud to have been a part of another entrepreneur’s dream of turning a lifelong passion into success!

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Omaha, NE