Workshop to Remind Leaders Cash is King

By Andy Meek

Author, business coach and strategy expert Michael Synk has a three-word phrase that he describes as the most important rule about growing a business: Growth sucks cash.

“Cash is the fuel of the business,” Synk said. “You run out of cash, the race is over, no matter how good your people, strategy and execution are.”

Cash, therefore, is one of a critical series of decision points Synk will lay out for growth-hungry business leaders this month at The In-Synk Plan Forward Workshop, sponsored in part by The Daily News. The workshop, to be held Oct. 18 at the University of Memphis, focuses on the Four Decisions model, a strategic planning model popularized by the book “Mastering the Rockefeller Habits” and offered through Gazelles International.

The model refers to the key decisions that leadership teams have to get right in order to grow, and those four decisions are built around people, strategy, execution and cash. The workshop is organized around those four decisions and teaches the participants how to address them better and then coordinate them into a one-page strategic plan.

Ed Gentry, chief lending officer at Triumph Bank, sees business wrestle with cash flow problems in a few ways. Triumph is the sponsor of the “Cash Decision” piece of Synk’s workshop.

“I’ve looked at some recent surveys about this, and what’s really interesting about this is they say about 45 percent of business owners say that not being paid on time is the biggest impediment to cash flow,” Gentry said. “And what’s interesting is only less than a third ever ask their bank for help, which is kind of surprising.

“That creates an opportunity for us, because we need to be asking those questions. I’ve been doing this about 24 years, and part of what I do when I talk to somebody is I ask them, ‘Tell me about your cash flow cycle. Tell me about your seasonality. Tell me what your terms are and how your clients are paying you.’”

Gentry said he thinks bankers need to do a better job asking about cash flow issues like these, including the cash cycle and seasonality patterns.

“Entrepreneurs wear so many hats that a lot of times the one thing they hate to do is ask for money from their customers,” Gentry said. “They have to treat it as part of their business, something they do every day, and not treat it as something they don’t like to do.”

During the cash portion of the workshop, Synk will be introducing the “cash conversion cycle” and case studies that demonstrate ways to significantly improve a business’ cash that work with all types of organizations.

The bottom line, as far as Synk is concerned: “Strategy and execution are easier if you have more cash. More cash means more options.”

His workshop will begin at 8:30 a.m. in the Fogelman Executive Center at the University of Memphis and finish by 5 p.m. At the end of the day, attendees will leave in part with a baseline strategic plan and a checklist for execution.

In addition to The Daily News and Triumph, other sponsors of the event and the decision points those sponsors are tied to include Adams Keegan Inc. (People Sponsor), Century Wealth Management (Strategy Sponsor) and Decosimo Certified Public Accountants (Execution Sponsor).

The workshop is $500 per person, $400 per person for teams of four or more, $400 for Young Presidents Organization, Entrepreneurs Organization, Vistage, Clarity Council, and Society of Entrepreneurs Insight Group Members. To learn more, visit or, call 488-8172 or email