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What's in a name?

The Big Bang: a theory that our Universe exploded into existence from an extremely dense and hot state, and continues to expand today.

The Big Bang is also what we call our annual meeting. It’s how we feel about our origins: We exploded on the scene into a very competitive field of medicine (vein care).

For nearly four years, we have worked hard at establishing our brand. But when we opened up in the Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex, “Rocky Mountain Vein Institute” didn't really fit. So we named our business Trinity Vein Institute, after the local Trinity River.

Add this to our business management company, RMVI Services – and we have three distinct teams and brands to manage – that’s three payrolls, three websites, three sets of printed materials, social media and so on – not easy to manage for “mom and pop.”

Our company – now pushing 50 people – just finished our second annual Big Bang, and the big news is that we are changing our name. We pride ourselves on being a family company, but it’s not just my husband and me running the show anymore. The new name reflects our multi-state existence and plans for future growth in sites and services. Over the next six months, we will become the American Vein & Vascular Institute (AVVI).

This is no small announcement, and no small task. We have carefully cultivated our brand and our company culture around the moniker RMVI. We even have an award called “The RMVI Way.” But considering our growth beyond the Rocky Mountains and the desire to expand services into arterial disease (vascular) in addition to venous disease (vein), the new name more appropriately and specifically describes what we do and where.

Considering a name change for your company? There’s a great Chinese Proverb to consider, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The next best time is today.”  So if a name change is in your future, it only becomes more complicated the longer you wait.  I’m not writing a memoir here – this is real-time, and here are a few tips to consider:

  1. Know it and own it. Have a handy elevator pitch to easily explain your new name so it’s easy for staff, clients, vendors and the public to understand the change.
  2. Do your homework. This means – make sure no one else has the name, there are no other registered trademarks, and check (and purchase) desired domain(s). There are law firms that specialize in this work and it’s worth it if you want to avoid future potential expensive legal consequences.
  3. Know your costs.  A name change requires all new printed materials, uniforms, website, signage and more. That will need to be cash-flowed or be “sold” to a bank to loan you the finances to make it happen.
  4. Make a brand plan. This means, think through how you will introduce and transition from the old name to the new name.
  5. Focus on your function. Changing your name is an opportunity to better identify your function and product.  Do it better than ever through the change so everyone understands, and appreciates what you do. You might even earn new business  – which is the goal, right?
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Erin Gibbs
Erin Reilly Gibbs is CEO, founder and owner of American Vein & Vascular Institute Practice Management . The company oversees American Vein & Vascular Institute — a network of vein and vascular clinics owned and founded by her husband, Dr. Gordon Gibbs.  The companies have more than 50 employees, operating in Pueblo, Parker, Canon City, Vail Valley, Littleton and Colorado Springs in Colorado and in Arlington, Texas. The management headquarters are located in the heart of downtown Colorado Springs. Recently, Erin’s team was selected for ColoradoBiz Magazine’s Top 100 Women-Owned Companies and the entire organization was a 2014 winner for Colorado Companies to Watch. She can be reached at egibbs@avviusa.com or 719.242.8650.

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