By Steve Bennett, Co-Founder, The Genuine Gemstone Company

Often for an individual to make the choice to change their life and follow their passion in life, it can take a life changing event like a redundancy.

My first tip to succeed in business is to take a negative and use it as an opportunity to readdress. In 2008 after the financial crisis, there was a surge of people who found themselves suddenly unemployed and on the mass job hunt. Many did take this as a sign to look at what they were passionate about and how they could turn this into a financial gain. With so many determined and talented people looking for new opportunities, there was an explosion of small businesses and entrepreneurs riding the wave and who are now reaping the rewards.

When I stop and think about the common thread among these businesses, I come to one conclusion — passion. Ask yourself the question — do you work to live or live to work? For most successful entrepreneurs, it is the latter. This is my second tip, do what you are passionate about!

Of course, being passionate about a prospective venture does not guarantee an easy ride. On the contrary — passion symbolises hard work, it signals long hours and means you care more when something goes wrong. But balance that with waking up every morning and genuinely caring about the day head. Passion is the motivation to persevere, particularly through the dark periods every fledging business faces.

The next way to succeed in business is to use technology to take your business to the next level. Too many SMEs and start-ups are not using these resources to their full potential. Technology and business has come a long way, even in just a few years. To think that now a must-have for any business is to have a website.

Technology certainly opened doors for me, but it can help any company bridge the gap between bricks and mortar and the customer. At the click of a button, individuals are able to turn their passions into competitive offerings. With the increasing advancements in e-commerce platforms and sites such as Ebay and Etsy, individuals are now able to sell their own goods be it fashion or furniture to a global audience. There have been a number of success stories with businesses who began in this way and it is a trend that is likely to continue to grow as technology becomes more advanced.

The second business tip is to truly incorporate ethics into your business. From creating a business, The Genuine Gemstone Company, out of passion this should be an easy step. Every business should take their CSR seriously, no matter the size or trade. Aside from public perceptions, every aspect of your business will benefit if you and your staff hold the same ethics and care for the communities in which you operate. Putting people and the planet before profit is my philosophy, as business model that I believe all businesses should adopt.

These business tips have come from experience believe me. In my time I have owned 27 businesses, all from losing my job in the nineties. However, I truly believe that one can be a master of their own fate. So whether you work to live, or live to work, I urge you to discover and follow your passions and reap the rewards in the process.