As the chief executive officer of RoyaleLife, the UK’s largest provider of bungalow living for the over 45s, Robert Bull oversees a business bound for growth. As the population ages, more people are looking for a long-term living solution that provides them with comfortable amenities and protects their assets.
The RoyaleLife Model
Bull is a strong believer in helping his customers have both an excellent living experience and the financial flexibility and confidence that their hard-earned savings and equity will stay with them and their loved ones.
RoyaleLife’s Home Part Exchange programme allows customers to retain the full difference between the value of their own home and the price of their RoyaleLife purchase. For example, if their home is valued at £500,000 and they purchase a RoyaleLife bungalow for £300,000, the customer keeps £200,000. RoyaleLife even pays the estate agents’ and solicitors’ fees and stamp duty.
With a head office in Whiteley, Hampshire, RoyaleLife bungalows come fully furnished and feature coastal and countryside settings attractive to older buyers.
For Robert Bull, the growth and opportunity for RoyaleLife was clear. Founded in 1945, the business has established a solid reputation and was poised to seize on a building trend emerging throughout the country.
Developers in the past decade have shifted away from building bungalows to focus on family homes and apartments. At the same time, Bull saw an increased demand for single-storey living options for those over 45.
The global pandemic has only exacerbated the fears about financial security. With companies downsizing and concerns about job security, it is reassuring to know that one’s living situation is stable and manageable.
RoyaleLife bungalows eliminate the need to maintain a larger property. They also provide considerable perks, including gated communities, private driveways, and gardens in more than 90 locations in some of the country’s most desirable areas. Other amenities include coffee lounges, swimming pools and member-only gyms. A sister organisation, RoyaleResorts, also provides holiday homes.
A Driven Leadership Style
Robert Bull is an early riser who enjoys rowing first thing in the morning before he takes a 10-minute drive to the office. He carefully plans his day, balancing calls and meetings with daily check-ins with the heads of departments throughout RoyaleLife to ensure he stays up to speed on issues and can help solve problems.
He works long days, usually not finishing until 7pm, after which he spends time focused on family — he’s the father of two boys — and likes to stay up to date with his beloved Manchester United football team.
He believes in a flat management style to help support and inspire the roughly 400 RoyaleLife employees. In a recent interview, he stressed that his employees work with him, not for him. He focuses the team on the fact that they are a team in every sense. Those who seek to do it all themselves are bound to fail, Bull believes.
To remain at the top of the sector, Bull ensures that new ideas are discussed fully, and the pros and cons considered before determining whether to move forward. Costing out those ideas is another important step for Bull before determining what to pursue.
Secrets to His Success
Bull attributes his success to several factors. It starts with his routine and schedule in his professional life. It’s also grounded in his confidence — in his business model, in his fellow employees and in himself.
While the team will not always agree, Bull trusts his judgement. Still, he keeps an open mind as ideas are generated, spun around, dissected, and analysed. He values active listening and looking at things from a new perspective.
Inspiration is also vital for Bull, who appreciates that great ideas can arise from anything, anywhere and anytime. Often, he said, the best ideas come from the most unexpected sources.
He’s also learned from early mistakes. As a young professional, Bull struggled with a lack of experience with commercial agreements.
He tackled the issue by observing and learning. The self-education process included careful study of accountants and lawyers, seeing how they tackled day-to-day issues and taking those lessons with him to this day.
The support of his family is also crucial to his business triumphs. He notes that his father always encouraged him to take a long-term view. His grandfather also provided him with some advice that has served Bull and his company well: “Buy land. They don’t make it anymore.”
Future Projections Start Small
What is the trend that makes Bull the most optimistic? The desire to downsize.
Driven in part by the pandemic, along with the global trend for decluttering and simplifying, more residents are likely to consider turnkey living options. Older workers are worried about keeping their jobs and, if they find themselves out of work, they are unsure about being able to secure a new role, sometimes competing with younger individuals.
RoyaleLife is an appealing consideration for those looking to simplify their lives without losing any of the creature comforts of home living. Downsizing also gives people financial flexibility to consider new things. It allows people to retire with financial security and consider a fuller life without worrying about money.
Giving back is also important to Bull. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, he made more than 20 bungalow homes in Rutland available to NHS workers for free, after more than 20,000 medical professionals were sent to the area.
Bull also has launched a programme that celebrates the RoyaleLife customers who are making a positive impact on their communities. The most recent Neighbourhood Hero programme winners included residents who made more than 200 masks for health professionals and fellow community members, saved a neighbour stricken by a heart attack and rode 205 miles to raise money for a children’s charity.
Robert Bull is driven by a desire to help his customers and inspire his employees. His leadership by example is a powerful reminder of the impact of commitment, rigour and focus on the bigger picture.
Originally published at http://companyleaders.org on April 26, 2021.