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Last Update: Sunday February 25, 2018

Key Idea: Create a Product Around a New Law

Truckers who own their own rig turned out to be a sweet niche for a new company to serve.

Key Question:

A: 

Watch for laws to change.  Sue Callaway started making scrubs for nurses when the law no longer required them to wear white.  Cheryl took note of a ruling, offered a new insurance product in a new way and cashed out after twenty years when her business was doing $100 million in annual revenue. 

Search for more on the topic of product development and click on the question for more answers.

Think about it

When have you noticed laws or rules changing in your industry?  What can you do to make sure you are the first to market with a new product?

Clip from: VCW- National Association Independent Truckers

Kansas City:  In this episode of the show you meet Cheryl Womack.  Way back in the 1980 she became unhappy  with her job when her boss  hired a person for Cheryl to train to become her new boss. She left that company both sad and exasperated because she felt she deserved the promotion.

Cheryl spotted a niche to serve.  That was 1981 when she started a company dedicated to providing insurance to the owners of the 18-wheeler trucks moving cargo up and down our highways. She worked for the first year out of the basement of her home with one phone line that had call waiting and no computer.  She barely had enough to eat and admitted that she would go on dates just to get a decent meal.  At the time of this taping, she had 75 employees and was doing $45 million in annual sales.

In 2002, when her annual revenues had reached $100 million, she sold her National Independent Truckers Association and now focuses almost entirely on encouraging women.  She launched a non-profit called, Leading Women, to recognize women in business.

VCW Holding Company, L.L.C.

Cheryl Womack, CEO

11020 NW Ambassador Drive
Suite 500
Kansas City, MO 64153
8008218014

Visit our web site: http://leadingwomen.org

Office: 8008218014

Business Classification:
Eduvcation

Year Founded: 1994

Create a Product Around a New Law

HATTIE: You did not necessarily copy the business you came from. How did you make it different when you started?

CHERYL: At the end of my term with the previous employer, a lot of things were changing in how you could write policies and who needed to be the policy owner. And one of the issues were, really, that you couldn't be a master policyholder in the name of the trucking company and take care of the independent contractors. It needed to be either in their name or in some master name. And so I started an association so that I would have an association to make the named insured. To do that, though, to be legal, then I have to come up with benefits. I asked myself, what are the benefits I can offer?

HATTIE: But because of a change in the industry...

CHERYL: In the law.

HATTIE: The new law sparked your imagination and you created the association, the National Association for Independent Truckers?

CHERYL: Right.

HATTIE: We need to be asking ourselves what can we do to help our customers and make their lives easier?

CHERYL: Yes. A convention of woes is gold dropping from heaven, because if you can solve their problems, you have a product to sell. And it doesn't have to be sophisticated. You have to go back and reiterate their concern and problem to them and go, `I think I have an answer. Help me.' You can't be the know-it-all, because they don't want to hear it. Most of them, especially in trucking are guys, older guys...

HATTIE: Especially in big businesses.

CHERYL: The bigger the business, the more it better be their idea. So you almost want to go to them and say, `You know, I heard you talking about this and you've given me an idea,' so that it is their idea, even though they maybe had no clue they had such an idea. And then they start to embrace it and take it on.

HATTIE: Cheryl, do you think that women are better at that than men?

CHERYL: So much better, it's not even funny. In the first place, they hear it. Men are so off and on, a quick sale, zoom, zoom, zoom, zoom, going in for the close, they don't even hear what the person's really trying to say, `Here's what my need is, here's what my concern is.' And, I mean, women are gold at that. Not that a man can't do it, and some can, but I think the empathy from a woman, that she's been raised her entire life to be that way. Let's hope we do a better job with our sons, and they are that way, too.

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