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Do You Need a 'Babysitter' for Your Business? Nir Katularu owns multiple locations of Painting With a Twist, and he thinks even the most free-spirited among us could all use a little oversight.

By Kim Kavin Edited by Frances Dodds

This story appears in the March 2023 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Image Credit: Mariaelena Caputi

Nir Katularu is a grown man with a successful business — but he has, in his words, a "babysitter." And he loves it.

Katularu is one of the top-performing franchisees at Painting with a Twist, a paint-and-sip franchise with over 200 locations nationwide. He opened his first unit almost three years ago in Tempe, Arizona, and now has a second one, plus a location of the sister brand Color Me Mine (which focuses more on ceramics and kids). The "babysitter" — as Katularu calls her — is Painting with a Twist's regional consultant, who holds regularly scheduled Zoom meetings to help Katularu optimize his businesses.

Related: Frantastic Collaboration: How Franchisors and Franchisee Associations Can Partner for Brand Greatness

So, what drives Katularu's success? He says it's all about working with the brand's system.

"Once you have all those resources and you know your market, you can see the client and know them by name," Katularu says, "because they come and repeat."

Katularu is an Israeli native whose first language is Hebrew, and he grew up in Venezuela speaking Spanish. Prior to the pandemic, he was running his own studio and gallery, selling his own paintings as an abstract fine artist. He never struggled with making art or entertaining customers; he's a gregarious, extroverted guy. But tasks like email marketing were tough, especially when he had to write in English.

Those kinds of problems got much easier when he opened his first Painting with a Twist franchise in March 2020. Among other things, the brand provides franchisees with ActiveCampaign email marketing software. "Corporate sends us templates," Katularu says. "You just have to edit here and there, and you can send it. It's not something that I have to start from scratch."

Related: How to Be A Wealthy Franchisee

He also attends the franchisor's "Wednesday Webinars," each of which focus on a different aspect of improving the franchise business, and often participates as a panelist. One of the recent topics was how to build a calendar — meaning deciding which piece of art to offer to a class on any given day. That kind of guidance has been key to Katularu's success, because when he started out, he took a fire-hose approach and tried to offer all kinds of artwork. The brand helped him pare down offerings and focus on better-selling ones.

"I had a lot of classes, and corporate said, 'Nir, it's too much,'" he says. "I'm 100% an adult with ADHD. When I see something like that, I get overwhelmed. So they are trying to help me to lower my load but be more effective in the classes. I understand that very well, because I can have more profit."

That's exactly what Painting with a Twist likes to hear. Cathy Deano, the brand's founder, says Katularu's success is born from his eagerness to learn and to be a team player. "We tell all the franchises that we have comprehensive training and support. Buy into that," Deano says. "We have great marketing tools and resources. Buy into that. We have great technology and the biggest art library you'll find. Nir buys into all of that. It's what we try to tell other people to do. We point to Nir and say, 'Look at his numbers. He's doing all of this.'"

Related: Yes, You Can Buy a Franchise In a Bad Economy — But First, Ask These 5 Questions

Kim Kavin was an editorial staffer at newspapers and magazines for a decade before going full-time freelance in 2003. She has written for The Washington Post, NBC’s ThinkThe Hill and more about the need to protect independent contractor careers. She co-founded the grassroots, nonpartisan, self-funded group Fight For Freelancers.

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