If you read this blog consistently, you have surely noticed that I am a big fan of analyzing successful, non-lawn care, companies. We can learn from other industries and apply their successes to our own personal lawn care businesses.

Google is one company I am constantly impressed with. Today, Google announced plans to help develop an off-shore wind farm to generate electricity for up to 1.9 million homes. If you live in a part of the country that does not have wind turbines, I encourage you to visit a wind farm. Last year I drove from Tennessee to Seattle and was amazed at the number of wind turbines along the way. Kansas seems to have thousands of windmills and the Hood River region of Oregon and Washington seem to have millions of windmills.

Windmills are beside the point I want to make today but they just brought to mind an impressive feature of Google and how they constantly innovate in their product offerings. Google allows their engineers to spend up to 20% of their time working on their own projects within the Google infrastructure. An engineer with an idea how one of Google’s products can work better or be more productive can spend 1 day per week innovating and redesigning the product. If his/her project is approved, it will be included in Google’s offerings. In fact, Gmail, one of Google best features, started out as a 20% time project by one of it’s engineers. Today, Gmail boasts nearly 200 million users.

So, how does this relate to your lawn care business?

What products could you develop for your lawn care business if you (and / or your employees) took the incentive to devote 1 day per week to innovation? Yes, I can already hear your answers and I can’t imagine giving lawn care employees free reign over 20 percent of their time. However, what if it was a supervised 20%? And, what if it wasn’t 1 day per week but 1 hour per day instead? For those of you who think 1 hour per day is still too much, what if you dropped it to 1 hour per week? I can completely imagine that your employees, or you, would respect the 1 hour per week of innovation time. I can only imagine the developments of creative employees and lawn care business owners being creative within our industry spending 1 hour per week on innovation.

Granted, lawn care is a different business model than developing a search engine. We have to be out there sweating through customers lawns before we make any money. On the other hand, can you imagine the profit increase if you develop a better method of weedeating a customer’s ditch or edging a customers driveway?

As we move into the winter months, I would like to challenge each lawn care business owner to devote 1 hour each week toward innovation within their business. You might work on a new tool to pick up trash in customers’ lawns without having to stop your lawn mower or you might develop better, more efficient, mowing patterns for your biggest clients.

Don’t expect results immediately because it might take you a couple weeks before your creative juices start flowing. Once the idea hits you please check back in with us here to let us know your progress.

We believe in innovation within the lawn care industry. If you are just getting started with your lawn care business or if you are trying to make more money in 2011 than you did in 2010, you probably just need some simple help with your business plan and your pricing strategy.

We have developed a comprehensive Lawn Care Business course that will help you start and operate a successful lawn care business. This is a huge business tool that also includes the estimating software so you will know how much to charge your customers for lawn care work.

You can learn more about the Lawn Care Business course on our main website: http://www.StartALawnCareBusiness.com