a sonographer's guide to entrepreneurship

Talking tech

Episode 11: The importance of a “CEO Day” in your mobile ultrasound business

As business owners, we can get so caught up in the day to day that months can go by before we are looking at our business from a birds eye view. A CEO Day is a day to focus on the tasks that move the needle forward, and I’m sharing 5 must-have items to review for your business.


Jen (00:01):
Hello and welcome to the Talking Tech Podcast, a sonographer’s guide to entrepreneurship. I’m your host, Jennifer Lindsey, and today I am chatting about the importance of having a CEO day. I imagine most of you probably don’t know what that is. I didn’t know what it was for a long time. The main point of a CEO day is to set aside time to focus on the tasks that move the needle in your business. This is so important because, as business owners, we are everything. We are the CEO; we’re the CFO; we’re the janitor; we’re the ultrasound tech; we’re the marketing person. We are everything. And so, as we add on these multiple daily tasks, we can become accustomed to working on these minute details of the business so much that we forget to set aside time to have a good bird’s eye view of our business.

And if we don’t have a good bird’s eye view of our business, we can’t move the needle forward in a manner that we should. So I’m going to give you five things you should be doing on this CEO day to help you uplevel your business. I would suggest that those of you listening that don’t already have a business and are considering starting one schedule this CEO day out from the very beginning; those of you who are listening and have your own business already get this on the calendar as quickly as possible. It is so important. And after I go through these five steps that you should have inside that day, you’re going to understand how this will give you that motivation and excitement to either look at what you’ve done this the past month and say, ” man, I killed it.

I did such a great job. What worked, what didn’t work? Let’s use this as a template to move forward and continue to grow. You also may find, wow, last month my numbers were down. What do I need to do to look at moving the needle forward for next month so that I can see growth in my business from this month to the next? So the frequency of a CEO day is totally up to you. I would suggest at least once a month. So every month, you set aside an entire day to devote to your CEO tasks. Now, at the beginning of your business, that may have to be a weekend day, but I’m going to tell you some things I suggest doing for yourself during this day as well. So don’t get too scared about having to work on a weekend as business owners; we know how that is and that that is a requirement sometimes. So let’s chat briefly about the five things we should include in that CEO day.


We get an idea of where our business is, what our business is doing, and where we need to up-level to move that needle forward. So the first thing you’ll want to do on this CEO day is review your finances. Now I use QuickBooks, and for those of you who don’t have a business yet, let me explain some of the best ways to bookkeep and that type of thing. Because before you start your business, and if you’ve never done that before, that part can be, I would say, a little intimidating. Like, how am I going to do this? What does that entail? What software do I need? There are so many different bookkeeping softwares out there. I love QuickBooks. We’ve used it for years and years. They have QuickBooks online, where it’s a monthly fee. You can log in from anywhere, which is nice.

So if I’m on my laptop, I can log in. If I’m on my desktop, I can log in. They also have software downloads that you can purchase too, where you would download it into your computer. So it’s only available on that particular computer, but it’s a one-time fee for that particular download. So those are both options for QuickBooks, and like I said, there are a bunch of different bookkeeping software options out there. So just look and see what might work best for you. I like QuickBooks because it’s super universal, and what I can do is give my CPA access so our accounting firm has access and can log in and help us with our bookkeeping. I’ll explain a little bit about how we do that. There are a thousand different ways that can be done too, but I’ll give you guys some insight into what we do.

The cool thing I like about the accounting software is that it connects to your bank account. So you can do downloads from your bank account into a kind of hub in QuickBooks so that I can go through and see every single expense. I can look at what type of expense it was. So did I purchase a lunch for a physician group to discuss our services that would be categorized into our lunch marketing section there so that our accountant knows exactly what that expense was for. If I purchase supplies for our offices, that would go in the supplies category. And that way, when our accountant goes in, I prefer to back up just for a second. I prefer to do my daily bookkeeping, looking at all my expenses and categorizing them myself. That makes more sense to me to do it that way because I know what I spent the money on.

So some people opt to have their accounting firm do everything for their bookkeeping, so look at all their expenses and categorize them. I think when you have your accountant do that, sometimes it can create more questions from them. So I just prefer, because I know what I spent it on, to go in there and do my daily bookkeeping where I’m looking at all of my expenses, categorizing them the way that I think they need to be categorized. And then once a month, our bookkeeper, I think they do it actually every once, once a month or every quarter, they’ll go in there and review all of our transactions and then ask us if they have any questions because we potentially could have categorized something incorrectly. they want to make sure we’re categorizing it in a way that bodes well for us during tax time. And so, it’s nice to have them go in and pay your CPA to go in there and do that once a month or once a quarter to review all the bookkeeping side.

We also have them handle our tax payments. So we have employees. I myself am not an ultrasound tech. I hire all you smarties. So we have ultrasound tech employees, and so they obviously, we are paying them a salary. There are payroll taxes that are due each month, and we make sure that our accountant handles those just so that nothing gets messed up with the payments to the IRS. That’s one thing you don’t ever want to have to deal with. So I think it’s nice to have them handle that entire side of it so that we don’t have to, and we know it got paid, and we know the amount was correct, and we have the paperwork set aside, and all of that so that all of that just runs very smoothly. So I love to go in, just review all my finances, look at everything, compare what I may have spent last month to what I spent this month to see: are my expenses going up, are they going down, those types of things so that you just have a really good handle on your finances.

This is also a great time to look at your budget, so make sure things are lining up with the budgets that you’ve set. For example, I always suggest that our students set aside a monthly budget for lunches at offices because quite a few physician practices will only see vendors through lunch appointments. The cool thing is that we don’t have to pay for expensive stuff like radio advertising or TV advertising or those types of things. So I tell our students this, if you think of this budget as your marketing budget, it makes you feel a little bit better because a lot of students get confused and, I think, a little frustrated with having to buy lunch for an entire office when all they want to do is speak with a doctor. So I just like to kind of put that out there.

If we think of it as our marketing budget, it makes us feel a lot better. It is a great time for you to be able to set aside time with the physician because they are busy seeing so many reps from so many different vendors that it makes sense for a lot of the offices to just require that lunchtime appointment. And so if you have, for example, that budget set aside for those lunches, those are things to be looking at each month. How did that compare with my budget? How did that compare with last month, and how did that compare with the number of contracts I’ve closed while you’re in that kind of sales and marketing portion of the startup? All right, let’s move on to number two. So the next thing that’s good to do on this CEO day is to review your analytics.

So we have a PACS system, we have that as one of our listed vendors that all our students have access to. We’ve got special student rates for that, which we love. But, the PACS system that we use is really like a hub. It has almost become like a cell phone to us. I mean, it’s one of those things where we just couldn’t imagine our lives without it at this point because it has so much capability to run reports. It’s really important for us on this CEO day to not only take a look at our finances like we just talked about but to review the analytics of our businesses so that we know which doctors are ordering what types of ultrasounds. If we see those numbers drop, we can say, okay, do we need to meet with that physician client and talk about, if you know, those numbers have dropped over the last few months, is it something where we need to do a lunch and learn and bring lunch in for the office and talk about, you know, patient, patient information overview of what types of patient issues would require having an ultrasound done, those types of things.

It’s nice to be able to do those for offices sometimes because they may not realize that even though we assume that they should, they may not realize that the first line of defense is often an ultrasound. And so if we can go through different patient populations and different disease processes that we know ultrasound is a great first tool, we can teach our doctors that these are the things we should be doing first. These are the types of patient populations that should be getting an ultrasound. So if you’re seeing numbers, that’s a good thing to do anyway. But if you’re seeing numbers drop, that’s a great way to get in there and kind of talk with the office and find out what the issue may be. Is it that there’s a service problem? Is it that there is a lack of knowledge on the physician’s part?

So doing a lunch and learn would be good, but if you’re not doing a CEO day. You haven’t realized in the last six months that these doctor’s numbers have dropped; now it’s been going on for months and months and months, where if you’re looking at this type of thing every single month, you have a really good kind of bird’s eye view of the overview of what’s going on in your business. So you can nip those things in the bud as soon as they come up. This is also a great time to review your quality assurance too. So when I’m looking at the analytics, it’s a great time to look at if you’ve got employees, pull five of their cases and take a look at images, take a look at their notes, measurements, those types of things. Is there anything that you need to meet with them about on that end?

This is a great time to do QA on your radiologist or cardiologist that you’re working with. Pull five, six exams, look at the images, and look at the report that was done. And if there are things maybe consistently that you don’t agree with, that’s a good conversation to have with your radiologist. I think a lot of times, people don’t realize these are things that we as business owners need to be doing because if we work at a hospital or an imaging center, these aren’t necessarily the types of responsibilities we have. Someone else likely does that. So these are things to remember that they’re your responsibility to look at and ensure you’re providing the best customer service to your physician clients. I also like to look at turnaround times on reports too. So, our PACS allows us to pull that as an average.

And that’s a wonderful thing to say, okay, I’ve told my doctors you’ll have your reports by the next business day, and if my average is not the next business day, then I need to look at where those issues are coming from. It’s also really good to look at the number of amended reports. So, for example, the physician got the report back, and he has a question; he wants additional information because that wasn’t originally put in the initial report. Is that happening on a regular basis? We know that happens fairly often, but is it happening on a regular basis? So there are times when the doctor will want something added, but that shouldn’t be something that’s happening all the time. So I like to look at those numbers too to see if that’s anything we need to discuss with our radiology group regarding quality assurance.

All right, so we’ve gone through reviewing our finances. We went through reviewing the analytics of your business. So now let’s talk about working on any internal project. So that is point number three. That’s the third thing that you should look at doing on that CEO day, working on any, any internal projects because there are so many projects we have to do as business owners; it’s nice to look and say, okay, what do I need to do personally in my business as an internal project? So maybe updating marketing materials, putting a sales plan together for the next month, or making prospecting calls as an example to add qualified leads to your marketing list. If you’re still out doing kind of those marketing phases, any of those things you need to do as a personal internal project for your business to uplevel things to ensure you’ve got the marketing materials you need. Are there questions your doctors are asking on a regular basis that you could add as an FAQ portion

To marketing materials or an additional point to your marketing materials? It’s nice to have these set aside times to be able to do that so that you can work on these internal projects. Number four is organize, organize, organize. So there are a few things you can do with this. When I am, I love having a clean workspace and things in place, and we all know as we get busy and crazy and we’re running from here to there, and we’re doing all these things that don’t always continue to maintain. So it’s a nice thing to do as kind of that fourth step there on that CEO day to just organize and refresh everything. So I’ll take out my bag, briefcase, whatever you want to call it, the bag that I take out when I am meeting with doctors, and I will refresh that with, make sure I have plenty of handouts in there, clean out any receipts or whatever else I have thrown in my bag.

You know, as I was going out and running around, I’ll make sure I have enough business cards. I always keep contracts in my bag all the time, and I don’t mean to be presumptive with that, but if a doctor asks for a contract on that first meeting, for example, I want to have one there and available most of the time. It takes a few appointments, and I go through this specifically in the sales and marketing podcast I did a few weeks ago, but I like to be prepared for everything. And so having two or three contracts in your bag at all times, just in case someone asks for one, is always good to do. And so if you’ve given a few out, it’s nice to just replenish your bag with all of the things that you need to have in there.

I also like to just organize my workspace, so get rid of any papers I don’t need any longer. You know, clean out any, any drawers or anything that I’ve, I’ve gotten a little messy, and maybe people aren’t as crazy as I am on these types of things, but I really just love having that organized workspace, and I’m not always the best at keeping it that way. So if I can set aside time during the CEO day to do that, then I’m refreshed and ready to go for the next month. I also like to try as best I can to keep my email messages, all of that kind of stuff, as clean as possible so that I’m not missing emails coming through, texts coming through, those types of things. Just nice to kind of have a clean slate with all of that as well. So number four, organize, organize, organize, refresh everything, get things ready to go so that you feel, I just always feel like a, a breath of fresh air when I’ve organized stuff, and things are at my fingertips and ready to go. Okay, now, this may be the most important part of this CEO day, which is why I say take an entire day and set it aside for you. Because if you set aside an entire day and you’re doing that at least once a month, maybe a couple of times a month, but once a month, I think it is a perfect frequency. Take the rest of that day and do something for yourself. 

Take time for yourself. For those of you who aren’t in business yet for yourselves, I’m sure you can imagine how crazy life can get when all the responsibility is on you for things. And for those of you who already have a business, I am preaching to the choir. So we have to be able to take time for ourselves. And I always think of the saying you can’t pour from an empty cup. And it’s so true because we are so many things to so many people. I’m a mom, I’m a wife; I’m a business owner. I am a friend; I’m a daughter; I’m a sister. So many people depend on me for many things, and I want to make sure that I’m taking time to recharge and refresh.

So I love the idea of having part of this CEO day that is just taking time aside for you. So whatever that means, grab a cup of tea and read a book, get a massage, play a round of golf, and meet up with friends. We work so hard as business owners, and we have to be able to take a breather too. That is one of the most important things, and I think some of the best advice I could probably give you, especially when there are so many things to do, and we get so excited about moving that needle forward and working so hard and all of that. It’s just nice to be able to say; I’m done. I’ve gotten my four things; I reviewed my finances, I reviewed my analytics, I worked on any internal projects I had, and I set aside a specific amount of time to do that.

I organized everything. I’ve got my desk looking great. I’ve got my bag looking great. Now it’s time for me to take aside some time for myself and do something for me that will create a scenario where I am recharged, refreshed, and ready for the next month. So I can’t explain enough how crucial a CEO day is for you. We can’t only focus on the day-to-day, and if we don’t set aside time, I’m telling you, months and months and months and months will go by before you end up taking that bird’s eye view of your business. And it’s just inevitable because we’re so busy. After all, time flies, and we’ve got to set aside that time. So we’ve got to work on our business to move that needle forward. And having that CEO day once a month is the perfect way to do that. Okay, guys, I hope this gave you some great information. If you’re not already a business owner, implement this as soon as you start. It’s going to be a game-changer for you. And the same if you already own a business, implement this now, set aside, look at your calendar, set aside that date right now. It’s going to be a game changer in your business. All right, guys, until next week, have a wonderful time, and I’ll chat with you then.

your strategy-obsessed ultrasound business coach.

I'm Jennifer -

Welcome to the Talking Tech podcast, where we answer your questions about legal, marketing, admin, sales, and so much more. After nearly 20 years in the industry running our own mobile ultrasound business and helping techs across the country do the same, I'm so excited to bring you industry insight, mindset, productivity, business tips, and inspiration to help you design the business of your dreams.

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