When a person or team of persons sets out to start a small business, the best of intentions often goes into it. There might even be extensive planning, funding, and hiring that is integrated to help ensure the success of the business. You can be smart, diligent, and even lucky, and yet there’s still a very real possibility that you will fail in your entrepreneurial efforts.

Even though there are many reasons for why entrepreneurs end up failing, there is one reason that rises above them all. This number one reason for why hard-working entrepreneurs fail isn’t just the most common culprit for why so many small businesses don’t survive, it’s also the most avoidable.

This reason spans every industry, market, product, service, and regulatory environment. In fact, it’s so pervasive that libraries of books have been written about it. If entrepreneurs can avoid making this mistake, their batting average in the world of business is going to increase dramatically.

So, what is the number one reason why hard-working entrepreneurs fail?

The Key Mistake Most of Them Make

Here it is: the number one reason why most hard-working entrepreneurs fail is that they try to do too much at once.

That’s it. That’s the secret.

If you were to sit down and interview ten entrepreneurs who failed at their efforts of starting a business, what you’d find in at least seven of those cases is that the small business owner tried too hard to keep too many things going at once.

The allure of hyper-multitasking everything is a common pitfall that is very deceptive because it makes the entrepreneur think that he or she is doing things right. After all, the more work you can do at once, the more the needle moves in your favor, right? Wrong.

Here’s why doing everything all at once is so toxic to small businesses. It’s because no single task, action item, or to-do is ever given 100% of the attention and detail it deserves. When entrepreneurs fall prey to the idea that they need to be doing everything all at once, it’s only a matter of time before critical aspects of the business start to suffer.

Now, you might be able to point to individual instances of entrepreneurs doing insane amounts of work with very few resources, and you’d be right in thinking that what they did was successful. However, the reality is that genius-level entrepreneurs with lucky timing, key business connections, and deep pockets are few and far between.

For every Steve Jobs that makes it in the world, there’re a million enterprising entrepreneurs who don’t. And, it’s often because they simply try too hard to do and be all things at once.

So, how can this be addressed? What can hungry entrepreneurs do to insulate themselves from the risk of overdoing it all? The answer is complicated, but it has to do with three key concepts: delegation, discipline, and prioritization.

Each of these deserves its own article, so a brief mention will have to suffice for the sake of brevity. Delegate what others can do without you, remain disciplined in your approach, and prioritize tasks on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.

Doing this will help to ensure your success as an entrepreneur.