Member case study: Kirstie Edwards, A Path To Follow

Member case study: Kirstie Edwards, Beyond Business Groups

Member case study: Kirstie Edwards, A Path To Follow

Kirstie is the Director of A Path To Follow. They provide customised mental wellbeing support to young people and their families. Kirstie started A Path To Follow in 2010, motivated by her experiences with mental health challenges, both personally, and professionally, managing family and allied health services.

A Path To Follow was first a blog for raising awareness of youth mental health issues and reducing stigma. They also hosted events to raise money for youth mental health facilities. In 2019 Kirstie established A Path To Follow as a business and began working in it full time. Her vision is a connected community where young people and their families are supported by a personalised mental health service based upon their lived experience.

I talked to Kirstie about her Beyond Business Groups experience.

Why did she join Beyond Business Groups?

Kirstie joined Beyond Business Groups in our inaugural intake in February 2019, just as she was launching A Path To Follow as a business. ‘The timing aligned really well with me starting as a business, and it gave me a great foundation to get A Path To Follow up and running.’

What are the biggest benefits of Beyond Business Groups?

‘I think the biggest benefit is that being a part of a Beyond Business Group forces you to allocate time to work on your business. To stop and review, evaluate and update. I appreciate that time, even though I wish I spent more on it after our meetings!’

Other than dedicated time and focus, Kirstie cites the ideas and understanding of others as a significant benefit. ‘Getting the knowledge and experience of the others in the group is fantastic. The feedback and input. Not just directly about my business, but hearing stories of the others really helps me in my journey.’

How did Kirstie find our peer learning delivery model and modules?

For context, here is a quick overview – our members sign up in their groups for an annual program of 11 Modules (none for January) that work through each aspect of business. The Modules come out on the first day of the month, and individuals then read the materials, work on the activities and can use the recommended resources to explore the topic further. Towards the end of the month groups meet when and where they want to (face-to-face or via videoconference) to discuss the topic, share ideas and expertise, and socialise. Just like a book group.

‘I like the model because it’s flexible and you can choose your own timing. Also I like that what you put in is what you get out. The only people not winning if you don’t go through and do it all is yourself.

‘I also like how each of the modules works through different parts of the business, and they ultimately fit together to enable your business to progress and move forward. I’ve learnt a lot about each of the topics.’

Kirstie also gives a thumbs up to the quality of the modules. ‘I think the modules are perfect. They are well-structured, and not too easy or difficult to understand. I like the way there is an explanation followed up with a practical example or activity. It makes it much more relevant to everyone’s business experience.

‘And I like the mix of words with diagrams, and the option of articles, podcasts and videos  – it caters to the whole range of learning styles. It also allows consolidation of understanding – if you don’t get it from one source you’ll get it from another.’

How participation helped take her business ‘beyond’?

As Kirstie started A Path To Follow as a business alongside starting Beyond Business Groups, she has learnt a lot about all areas of small business. ‘The way I was working in my previous job was quite different to what I had to learn to launch and develop a small business.’

‘Social media has been a big learning curve and marketing. As well as branding and how to sell yourself. SEO. I rebranded A Path To Follow and developed a new website. I learnt a lot about finances and fees. Sorted my terms and conditions and privacy policy. I’m not an expert by any means, but certainly now I feel much more prepared to move forward and investigate areas of my business, such as becoming a not-for-profit, because of the basis each module has given me.’

Would Kirstie recommend BBG to others? Why?

Kirstie’s response is emphatic. ‘Absolutely! That’s why I keep coming back.

Other than making you work on your business, Kirstie likes how she has gotten out of her comfort zone, meeting and getting to know other local business owners, with the focus of the modules. ‘It’s not like you’re having small talk. There’s more connection. People are really helpful with ideas and giving you an outside perspective. I look forward to the meetings personally, as well as for my business’

Kirstie also likes the gentle accountability. ‘You have some accountability, but not so much that it puts you off showing up if you haven’t finished all the work. So it’s a really safe space which is important.’

Find out more

If you like the sound of Beyond Business Groups you can find out all the details and sign up here.

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