The SINGLE Biggest Reason Entrepreneurs Fail

Find out the what the SINGLE biggest reason entrepreneurs fail – a 3 minute read

My father had just bought a new car, and for some reason he and I were in our local town centre at 2am. There was not a soul in sight. He stopped to get some cash out from the ATM, jumped back into his car and raced off down the road. A stranger stepped out in front of us with his hands in the air.

Had this been any normal stranger, he would have swerved around him, thankful he was safe. But in this instance, he stopped. Immediately. Why?

The answer is key to the single biggest reason entrepreneurs fail. Let me explain.

John, a highly skilled software developer, had an idea. Lunchtimes, evenings and weekends became his solace as he coded his idea into being. When he was convinced it could work, he excitedly handed in his notice with a dream to rule the world.


Highly skilled


He had saved up some money and borrowed more for seed capital. He took on a small office and another developer. By three months he had developed the first version of his app and released it.

He gained users, lots of them. Which meant he needed support staff, and more coders, with marketeers too. He was working 18 hours a day, 7 days a week. He successfully navigated much needed Series A funding, meaning a bigger team, bigger offices and more money for marketing.


Series A funding


But the breakthrough didn’t come as forecast. Reviews were positive about the app, and users were still downloading in numbers. But new features were delayed. Support haphazard. Communication almost non-existent.

The issues were not due to a lack of skill, people, or money. It was instead a problem common to anyone who has not learned to delegate. John could not let go.




He could not allow other developers to write code without his checking every line. Support staff could not release code unless John had personally overseen each change. His marketeers were stymied by John wanting to rewrite whatever messaging they came up with.

Today you might find John working part time as a coder for a company. He is still convinced in his idea. Meet him for a beer and you will hear him tell you that the problem was the market, the employees, the investors, but certainly not him.

Back to my dad. Why did he stop for a stranger? Simple. He was wearing the uniform of a police officer, with the full power of the state delegated to him, empowered to act on the state’s behalf.


delegation and empowerment


The police demonstrate effective delegation. There are a set of rules (values, desired behaviours, roles & responsibilities) to ensure those delegated to don’t overstep their authority.

The moment you become a manager, or senior leader, you need to ensure those that report to you have their equivalent of the uniform. Your power is delegated, and they are empowered. They know it, and we know it. It means that at 2am, when you are not there, they are still acting as you.

As my dad and I ground to a halt, my dad opened his window to the way too-young looking police officer. Turned out the young man thought my dad had pulled away too quickly. “Watch your speed sir or I’ll have to book you.” The journey home was the slowest I’d seen my dad drive.

The next time you see a police officer, ask yourself, is your delegation as effective? It might just be the key to your success.


Mark Bateman works with entrepreneurs and leaders as an Executive Coach to help them achieve challenging goals. Bringing a unique mix of proven commercial acumen and psychological insight, he helps them to quickly identify where they’re going, what’s stopping them, and what’s needed to succeed.

If you are an entrepreneur or leader, book a free 30 minute coaching call here.

Recent customers:

“Life changing, for me and my business” Jo Scaife, CEO

“Genius, a stupendous coach” Sonia Sedler, Managing Director

“Helped us grow 20-25% year on year” Lisa Wills, Owner