I have just read a great article over at INC about Richard Branson’s new book, Like a Virgin: Secrets they won’t teach you at Business School where Jessica Stillman lists Richard’s advice to a 12 year old boy who has a lawn service and it’s something we could all learn from:

Is the pricing right? “Are you charging too much?” asks Branson, who offers a surprising suggestion. “If you are unsure what to charge, you might try the radical Like a Virgin approach: Offer to mow people’s lawns for free, and tell them that if they are happy with your work, they can pay whatever amount they think is appropriate. You never know–you may end up making more money than you expected.”  

Is the equipment up to date? “Maybe you need to invest in a better lawn mower to help your son woo customers,” writes Branson. “It is amazing how a loan from one’s family will focus an entrepreneur’s mind.”

Do some research to find your most likely customers. “If old Mr. Smith next door has just hurt his knee, he might love to have someone do his mowing. Are there other people nearby who might need extra help for any reason? A young couple with a new baby, or someone about to go on holiday?”  

Can you broaden the services you offer? “Some people like to mow lawns themselves–could you also offer to weed gardens, clean cars, or remove rubbish?”  

Offer to donate some of your proceeds to a local charity. “That may help you persuade people to try out your services, since you will also be doing some good for the community,” suggests Branson.

Read the whole article here. Thanks Jessica – the book is on my list now.