I have been either consulting with or lending to small business owners since 1997. This career has provided an opportunity to work with some very successful people operating very successful companies. On the surface, many of these businesses do not appear to have much in common. They are often in different industries, serve different markets and are different sizes. When looking back at the successful people with very diverse backgrounds, I began thinking about the traits they have in common. My list is not complete and is certainly not backed by any academic research or rigor. It is just one guys’ observations over 18 years. I broke these common traits into the following categories; attitude, communication, customer driven, financial knowledge, leadership and organization. After I identified these traits, I included some quotes that I like that capture their meaning.