Businesses and non-profit organizations regularly open and move in Saskatoon. Today the StarPhoenix talks to Josh Buchanan, who recently started Magnaltus Consulting on 8th Street to help new businesses get started and existing businesses improve their operations.
Buchanan, who lived most of his life in Saskatoon, has visited 30 countries over the years and developed strong life experiences, along with his business economics degree at the U of S and other certifications in real estate property management and business consulting. In November last year, Josh decided to combine his many experiences and natural skills into a business to help other businesses.
Q: What made you decide to open Magnaltus Consulting?
A: It was long overdue for me and something I should have done a long time ago. I have a text message from my older brother from about eight years ago saying that I should be a business consultant because I’m good at helping businesses improve. I would say what made me finally decide to start it, I was just looking for work last year and I wasn’t really finding anything appealing, and just decided that was the point to get started with it. In the past with employers I found I seemed to always be more motivated and I cared more about improving their business than they did. So I thought, why not go out on my own and then I can do what I want, how I want and really be in control of the company myself.
Q: What services do you offer?
A: My primary focus is to help new businesses get started and help existing businesses improve the way they operate. The main services offered are business plan writing, business consulting, educational content, real estate analysis, resume writing, and personal financial management.
Q: Could you tell us more about your business services?
A: Business plan writing is generally needed when businesses are looking for financing, maybe they need to submit a formal business plan to a vendor. I can write that for them and with that usually comes consulting, too. They hire me to write a business plan but I often find that they need someone to bounce ideas off of and help them get on the right path.
The documents are breaking down the basics of the business, their marketing strategy, HR strategy, financial projections, owner profile, things like that. Sometimes those business plans are actually really useful even if you’re not planning to submit them to lenders because it can serve as a road map for the business.
And then business consulting for a startup, even if I’m not writing a business plan, it could just be coaching them through the startup process, determining what type of legal structure they want — if it’s going to be a corporation or a proprietorship or cooperative — making sure they’re looking into things like insurance and workers’ compensation. Maybe helping them determine a suitable location, doing market research for them, marketing ideas, options for building a website, providing other resources to them, discussing financials. Is it feasible? How much money are they going to need for startup costs?
Business consulting for existing businesses could just be ways of helping them improve, ways of cutting their costs, expanding the business, different marketing ideas. If they’re restructuring, helping them to be more efficient and operate more smoothly.
Q: What kind of educational content and real estate information do you provide?
A: For educational content, I have a few seminars that I do and I have some online content too. There is a website called Skillshare and I have four classes on there right now, three of them are on personal financial management — how to make your own monthly budget, how to make your own personal balance sheet, and how to make your own personal income statement. The fourth one is how to make your own cover letter or resume.
And then I’m currently doing a first-time home buyers seminar. And I’ve partnered with a local real estate agent and a local mortgage broker to provide a free step-by-step instructional seminar on how to buy your first home in Saskatchewan.
Another seminar which I’ll be starting in April will be a business startup seminar. That one will be a little bit shorter, the steps and information people need to know in order to start their first business in Saskatchewan. So it’s kind of the stuff I do with my consulting.
For real estate analysis that’s kind of more just a hobby for me that I also offer. I don’t really promote it very much. My background with real estate is I worked as a property manager after university and I started tracking the real estate market quite closely. And noticed that was turning in a certain direction and I started writing about it. And I started a blog back in 2015 — I have about 264 blog posts where I track the market, the economics of it, supply and demand, price trends and impacts of low interest rates and things like that.
Q: You also help individuals with resume writing and personal financial management?
A: Resume writing is something that I was focusing on a little bit more when I first started business just because that was an easy way to kind of get the wheels in motion with getting clients and stuff like that. So just professional resume writing services when people need a resume and/or cover letter, I can provide that for them too.
I’m very much a personal financial management nerd, I guess you could call me. That’s what has allowed me to travel a lot, is just being very strategic with how I save my money. I have a good understanding of credit scores and utilizing tax savings accounts like the TFSA and RRSPs. It’s not investment advice. It’s more financial literacy and strategy. I used to teach at Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies in Regina, and that was one of the courses I taught.
Q: What sets you apart from other business consultants?
A: I think it’s my accessibility and my adaptability. I think a lot of other companies that do this type of thing are bigger companies and are maybe less flexible. For me, it’s just all me. It’s easy for me to meet with a client. I can communicate in various different ways very quickly, and I have a wide skill set and I have a lot of resources.
I am very much local and I want to present myself as that. On my website there are pictures of the city and the bridges and stuff because that’s important to me. I’ve looked up other companies that provide business plans and I’m always wondering who are these people and where are they? It’s a 1-800 number, it feels very anonymous. I want to be identified as someone who’s a real person with a real office in Saskatoon.
This interview has been edited and condensed.
Have you recently started or moved a new business or non-profit organization in Saskatoon? We want to hear your story. Please email [email protected]
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