This case captures the cash-flow and working-capital management problems typical of small, growing businesses. At the end of 2015, Bob and Maggie Brown have completed their third year of operating Horniman Horticulture, a $1-million-revenue woody-shrub grower in central Virginia. While experiencing booming demand and improving margins, the couple is puzzled by their plummeting cash balance. The case highlights the difference between cash flow and accounting profits, as well as the common negative effects of growth on cash flow. The case provides a forum for establishing appreciation for the relevance of free cash flow to business owners and managers, introducing financial ratio analysis, developing the concept of the cash cycle and working-capital management, and motivating the use of financial models.
Darden Business Publishing – University of Virginia