Kenny Ackerman – Owner and Director of Ackerman’s Fine Art

My advice would be to constantly review your business and never be complacent, always strive to be better.

Kenny Ackerman is the owner and director of Ackerman’s Fine Art, founded in 2010 as a gateway for art collectors to acquire the finest investment quality works. As a 20-year veteran of Wall Street with more than 30 years of investing experience, Kenny brings a unique perspective to the art world. Not only does he appreciate fine art for its aesthetic value, he also has a keen understanding of its implications as an investment vehicle. His mission is to provide collectors with the highest quality of fine art, coupled with valuable expertise and outstanding personal service.

After a long career as a successful trader, Kenny walked away, seeking another endeavor he could pursue with a true passion. He found it during a visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2003. Inspired by the paintings in the Impressionist and American Galleries, Kenny began studying, then collecting works of fine art. As a result, he has developed expertise in Impressionist & Modern, Contemporary, Post-war, and American Art. Says Kenny, “Not a day goes by that I’m not adding to my knowledge of 19th and 20th Century paintings. Bringing outstanding works of art into the lives of my clients is an incredible feeling. I do not look at it as work – it is my passion.”

Where did the idea for Ackerman’s Fine Art come from?

Starting out as a new art collector, I made a lot of mistakes and was led in the wrong direction. The idea for Ackerman’s Fine Art was inspired by these mistakes, with the goal to help protect people from making the same ones I did years ago.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

My days tend to be very busy! Every day is different, as new clients and situations always arise. I’m constantly talking to clients and other art professionals and viewing art collections. My mornings are usually filled with calls and emails, both nationally and internationally. My afternoons are spent meeting with my staff, making deals for clients and the gallery as well as attending exhibitions, galleries and art fairs or conducting research to stay up to date on the art world. I make a lot of house calls to my clients as well. I stay productive by consistently thinking of ways to improve my business and our client’s experience.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I always spend a portion of my day doing research and reserve a couple of hours a week to brainstorm with my gallery team. Closely monitoring my business and my clients is a great way to improve and grow the business. It’s simple, but it works.

What’s one trend that excites you?

The popularity in investing in quality art. I’ve seen a major transformation recently with more people around the world considering art as an investment for their overall portfolio diversification. New collectors are being born every day.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

It’s not a habit per say, but my ability to multi-task helps me be very productive. ADHD has been a blessing. Also, I’m always thinking outside of the box and confiding in my staff, who play a big role in the success of my business.

What advice would you give your younger self?

To be more spiritual and patient with everything and everyone. Be more forgiving of other people and always take time to work on self-improvement. This will help improve all facets of your life, including your business.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on?

Art is a great investment. Unlike the stock market, you can’t just flip on your computer and sell, which helps collectors to not jump the gun and sell works when they shouldn’t.

Another point that almost no one agrees with me on is that most galleries who are trying to sell emerging art will not inform the collector about the risks involved.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

My advice would be to constantly review your business and never be complacent, always strive to be better. The competition is always moving ahead and if you are not innovating, pushing creativity, you will falter.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.

Experimenting with different marketing strategies then running with the ones that work and investing heavily in them. We’ve been working on building our online presence with different online marketing tactics and social media plans.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

I’ve tried my hand in a couple of other businesses that didn’t work out. Once I saw they weren’t going to work out, I cut my losses and shut down early rather than dragging them out.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

I’ve had a lot of ideas in all different areas of business throughout the years. One idea I’m still fond of is from when I was a little kid and the most exciting thing to me was the ice cream truck. An ice cream truck business in the suburbs would be a great cash flow business. There are not enough of them.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

Having my daughter’s painting of Mickey Mouse framed. You wouldn’t know the difference between her and the Walt Disney version! It’s incredible.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?

LinkedIn. It facilitates communication with potential clients and other art professionals.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

“Caveat Emptor: The Secret Life of an American Art Forger” by Ken Perenyi. It’s a novel but it gives you a sense of how much an art advisor is necessary in the art world.

What is your favorite quote?

“The only thing to fear, is fear itself” – Franklin D. Roosevelt


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