Growth – the topic of the moment

Growth – the topic of the moment

Growth seems to be the topic of the moment; whether it is how the government will achieve economic growth for the country (or be challenged about this), or how businesses will respond to the ongoing economic slump.

Traditionally growth in the housing sector has been about increasing the number of homes owned. But what role does growth have now, and what options do organisations have for achieving it?

As a starting principle any growth strategy should clearly support the overall organisational strategy. Second, any decisions related to growth should be based on a thorough understanding of the existing environment, supported by detailed market and competitor analysis. For example, what is the size of your current and potential customer markets, what share do you have, who are your competitors and what are their growth aspirations? In the latter case, the ambitions of private sector organisations delivering social housing and commercial organisations with Registered Provider (RP) subsidiaries may be very similar. Likewise, what gaps exist in the markets and what assets, skills and resources do you have to fill them?

As well as continuing to improve VfM and reinvest in services, future growth for RPs is likely to mean:

  • growing current services to meet customer needs
  • filling the gaps left by reduced public services
  • diversifying services to:
  • support communities and individual customers
  • provide financial protection for the organisation through a broader range of income streams
  • protecting market share from increased levels of competition.

To grow, could you expand an existing service to current customers (e.g. care and support)? Could you provide an existing service, commercially (e.g. HR, finance, IT or private sales)? Or could you develop a new service to fill a gap needed by your customers (e.g. education or health)?

Implementation options include: organic investment, merger, setting up a joint venture or new social enterprise. Each approach carries its own set of risks and challenges. A solid financial footing and decisions based on a thorough understanding of your current internal and external environment and clear objectives are essential.

As well as increasing the number of homes, growth within the housing sector will be needed to provide support to customers in a myriad of different ways. It must also involve increasing financial strength and protection to organisations. Developing an effective growth strategy will be essential for housing organisations and the customers you support.

For more information on how Altair can support your organisation’s growth strategy, and prepare market and competitor analyses please contact Michael Appleby on 07545 314 749 or