We all want convenience. We want everything that we want to be immediately accessible, at our fingertips, open 24 hours a day. The convenience of always-on technology, disposable products, immediate gratification and silver bullets for everything is our new normal.

In this bright-shiny world where we wave our credit card at devices to buy things (because slotting it into the little machine was too laborious), we don’t typically commit to anything unless we must. And it’s making us flakey, distractible, and even sick.

Real, enduring change requires commitment. We don’t wake up one morning radically different. Especially when establishing new, healthy habits, we need a thousand tiny steps forwards and backwards before a new habit becomes an innate behaviour.

We know that the client who does a little casual cherry-picking of our services isn’t going to experience much, if any, long-term change. We know that a one-off experience is not going to shift the big stuff. That it’s a feel-good Band-Aid solution at best. We know that our clients may well be just skirting the surface. And, if we’re not smart to this, we may well respond to their demands, to become surface-dwellers ourselves.

The cost of commitment in business

It costs to get someone to commit. By committing to your business, either with a subscription or premium-priced product, their investment is not just monetary; it’s their far-more-finite time and attention. People who invest in a longer-term commitment trust in the vision that you hold for their future.

They may be in severe or chronic pain. They may have been battling the same physical, mental or emotional issues for decades before they heard of you. They may be entrusting you with their business copy writing, their style, skills, experience, and long-term goals.

They need to trust that you have confidence in their future (better) selves.

Taking something seriously

When we pay up-front for something, we are far more likely to take it seriously. Just look at the commitment of Apple Mac-geek preordering devices not yet released to public critique, or people pledging money on a crowdsourcing idea, something that hasn’t yet – and may never – come to fruition.

Gym memberships which are automatically deducted fortnightly or monthly, research shows, are far more likely to be used than memberships that are deducted in one big chunk once a year. As people are regularly reminded of their financial investment in the gym, they will put in the hours to recoup their investment.

Changing from a casual drop-in model to a longer-term commitment is also good, of course, for you. When you have reliable future revenue coming in, you can plan for expenses, take holidays, hire and delegate.

Your clients ultimately won’t benefit nearly as much from taking sporadic, uncoordinated actions with little commitment, and this, with the best of intentions, reflects poorly on you.

Regardless of how wonderous your intentions or how superior your expertise, you cannot give someone the best possible experience if they aren’t ready of it. Them not being ready, and you accepting their drop-in business, reflects poorly on your business.

commitment business

Admitting people into your business

The customer is not always right. We cannot accept everyone into our business and believe that they will all equally benefit, because they won’t.

Like the total novice in your intermediate yoga class, or the chronically disorganised and close-to-breakdown business owner seeking copy writing, or the deluded addict coming for a one-off naturopathic consultation, benefits will not result based on desires alone.

Our clients need to be ready to take action to make lasting, sometimes radical, changes to their lives. Only then will they have a truly transformative experience in your business which reflects well on, and reinforces, you.

As much as we may wish otherwise, it can be impossible to give someone a short-cut to knowledge. Foundational work is essential.

It is not our responsibility to help people who aren’t ready to be helped. It is our responsibility to guide people towards the best possible experience available – which means commitment.