Greenthumb's Lawn and Design (a)

6 Pages Posted: 7 Jan 2019 Last revised: 11 May 2019

See all articles by Gregory Fairchild

Gregory Fairchild

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Rebecca Goldberg

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business


Friends Parker and Miles are brainstorming the possibilities of a local start-up—a landscaping venture that leverages their love of the outdoors and their self-taught green thumb skills in planting, mowing, edging, trimming, landscape design, and the like. Without any formal professional or business training, however, they strategize and slowly work through their “next steps,” taking into account the cost of their initial investment, potential competitors, target customers, and the type of budget-friendly advertising that will gain them a share of the local market. As they conceptually differentiate themselves in a way that creates business and customer value, are they ready to launch?



Rev. Apr. 26, 2019

GreenThumb's Lawn and Design (A)

Coffee Shop Plans

Parker and Miles had been friends throughout high school. They had been through the ups and downs of life together and shared many memories—like the state basketball competition, school dances and parties, and of course, math class with the most attractive female math teacher in the county. After graduation, they had both attended community college and finished their associate degrees, but each had determined that a four-year degree was not their best path. Both Parker and Miles had worked since the age of 16—at retail jobs, as baggers at the local grocery store, and in the local car dealership's service center. While both men had a strong work ethic and a desire to learn, none of their jobs had led to a career path. Most recently, Parker had served six months in the county jail for distribution of marijuana—a “job” he was anxious to find an alternative to, now that he had been released on unsupervised parole for good behavior. Shortly after his release, the two friends (who were now 22) met up at a local coffee shop. Miles had just left his most recent employment—as a cashier at the local fast-food restaurant. They started mulling over their next best steps. Parker asked his friend, “Why don't we start a landscaping business?”

“We both like to work outside,” he continued. “After working at the car dealership in the repair shop for so long, I can fix anything with a motor. We both have pickup trucks, and I can weld together some steel on a two-by-four platform to make a trailer for us to use. We could buy up a half-dozen used mowers and other power tools, and fix them when they break. It wouldn't cost us more than a couple hundred bucks each in startup money. And you know all there is to know about pruning trees and shrubs and planting flowers from your dad.”

. . .

Keywords: entrepreneurship, start-ups, target market, business strategy

Suggested Citation

Fairchild, Gregory and Goldberg, Rebecca, Greenthumb's Lawn and Design (a). Darden Case No. UVA-ENT-0210. Available at SSRN:

Gregory Fairchild (Contact Author)

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States


Rebecca Goldberg

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

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