SelfInformed

June 2014


When the Mayor is an Entrepreneur

Thursday, June 12, 2014



Gary Gygi is president of Gygi Capital Management, an investment advisory firm in Cedar Hills, Utah that he founded in 2003. The company caters to high net worth individuals, corporations and institutions. He has been managing money since 1989 and before starting his company he spent 15 years as an investment advisor and management executive for Morgan Stanley. He is also the mayor of Cedar Hills and has been a NASE member since 2003.

 

What inspired you to start your business?

I come from a very entrepreneurial family so being an entrepreneur came naturally to me. I am doing the same type of work now as I was when I worked for Morgan Stanley, But I have taken the next step and I can now make strategic and financial decisions for myself and I am free of certain limitations that I had while working for a Fortune 500 company.

Sometimes people may find themselves self-employed because they are forced there but most of us do it by choice. Many of my friends are happy with their regular jobs and that is great for them. But it’s not great for me. I want to be compensated for how hard I work. People who are entrepreneurial thrive on going out and creating their own destiny.

What key lessons did you learn during your time
at Morgan Stanley that helped you in setting up your business?

I learned a lot of lessons in terms of how our business operates. When you go out on your own you will always make mistakes. The experience I had at a large company helped minimize the number of mistakes.

What differentiates your company from other investment advisory firms?

Most investment firms want to put you in a box and their investment strategies are set up that way. They have already determined what type
of box they want you to have. We try to develop an investment strategy
based on each person’s goals and needs. No one likes to be put into
a box, so I think that is the biggest difference.

How do you market your business?

There are several ways. One is by word of mouth – I use my clients for
referrals. I have also developed “centers of influence” and contacts such
as accountants and attorneys, and we refer business to each other.

I also have more media exposure than any investment advisor in Utah. That has helped my business a lot. When talking with corporations, institutions or high net worth individuals there is better than a 50 percent chance they have seen me on TV or heard me on the radio and are comfortable about how I think and what I do, so that has helped a lot.

To gain this exposure, entrepreneurs need to develop relationships with people in the media. The media needs to fill time and they need to write stories on financial topics. If you have developed a relationship and make yourself accessible and give good interviews, they will come to you directly. It takes time to develop those relationships but it does help.

My company is also very active in social media but we are careful to not be overly promotional. We want to be perceived as credible. I have a blog and I also make comments on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. I comment on the economy and the markets and deliver information that is helpful. It enhances your credibility when you deliver valuable information.

What challenges have you faced in your business? How have you overcome them?

You have to wear a lot of hats. You have to be really good at time management. I spend time on a number of activities such as research, portfolio management, compliance, sales, marketing, etc. We are going to expand and hire people to take on some of those responsibilities. I am really disciplined about things that I have to do. There are reports that need to be done. Not procrastinating is a big deal. You have to make little bits of time to do things every day so when you get to the end of the week or the month you are not so burdened with a project that you should have been doing a little bit at a time all the way along.

In addition to running your business you are also the mayor of Cedar Hills, Utah. How does your experience as a self-employed person help you in this position?

Being in the private sector adds a skill set not often found in the public sector, which is a motivation to turn a profit if possible. The private sector is all about turning a profit and the public sector is more about providing services so my private sector experience helps me take care of taxpayer dollars entrusted to me. 

What’s the best thing about being self-employed?

Everything. The flexibility of being able to create your own schedule is a big thing. I can go see my son in a baseball game or watch my daughter do a performance. You always know you have to get things done, but if you are entrepreneur you are going to be motivated.

What’s the best compliment you’ve ever
received from a client?

We have helped a lot of clients and a lot of them are appreciative and say thank you. But one client made a point of coming to me and said, “You changed my life. There were things we didn’t think we would be able to do but you helped us with our finances and now we can do them.”

Which NASE member benefit is most
important to you?

The ability to be able to go to professionals in the organization for legal and accounting advice. I use them as a resource on questions such as how to structure my business. It makes it easy for someone just getting started in a business to dash off an email and get an email back in a couple days that helps them make a good decision.

Comment

  1. RadEditor - HTML WYSIWYG Editor. MS Word-like content editing experience thanks to a rich set of formatting tools, dropdowns, dialogs, system modules and built-in spell-check.
    RadEditor's components - toolbar, content area, modes and modules
       
    Toolbar's wrapper 
     
    Content area wrapper
    RadEditor's bottom area: Design, Html and Preview modes, Statistics module and resize handle.
    It contains RadEditor's Modes/views (HTML, Design and Preview), Statistics and Resizer
    Editor Mode buttonsStatistics moduleEditor resizer
      
    RadEditor's Modules - special tools used to provide extra information such as Tag Inspector, Real Time HTML Viewer, Tag Properties and other.