Caplor Energy

Building for growth, diversification and succession

Originally run as a family farm in Herefordshire, a eureka moment in 2007 saw Caplor Energy founder, and third generation farmer, Gareth Williams diversify into the renewable energy sector.

Now a successful B-Corp, Caplor Energy has been working with Firestarter for nearly ten years, helping them to build a national reputation in the supply and installation of renewable energy technology across a wide range of sectors.

Solar panels on roof

The challenge

When Caplor first started installing solar panels in 2008, the UK renewable energy sector was arguably still in its infancy. One of just a few hundred MCS approved installers at the time, the business collaborated with others, setting strong foundations for the first three years, adapting to and navigating a new sector that could be volatile.

Steady growth soon accelerated and by 2014, Gareth recognised that the business needed outside help to look at the sales process more holistically and support further expansion.

That’s where Firestarter came in, initially with the aim of providing help and advice to streamline and improve Caplor’s sales process.

The solution

With just two salespeople at Caplor at this point, Firestarter’s collaborative and personal approach saw one of the team step into the role of Head of Sales. This proved to be a key strategic move in the growth of the young company, providing valuable on-the-ground support. A new sales process was introduced that included improved pipeline management, quarterly reviews and weekly forecasting.

As time went on, the scope of the relationship changed and expanded beyond improving the business’ sales function. Not only has the Firestarter team provided leadership support and guidance as Caplor has developed and grown, but they’ve also worked with the wider team too. Seeking to improve efficiencies and processes, as well as working on audience segmentation to help create specific marketing campaigns that supported business development and the move to working with more B2B customers. A commercial product and marketing strategy was also developed and implemented to further complement this.

The Caplor team has benefitted not only from Firestarter’s sales and marketing expertise but operationally too. There has also been the flexibility to turn support up and down as needed, depending on the business’ priorities.

With a now high-performing nine-strong sales team, more recent activity has been focused on providing marketing support to help develop a strategy to support consistent longer term growth. A member of the Firestarter team is in place as Marketing Manager, helping to set clear goals and robust reporting KPIs, along with a rhythm that creates increased momentum and drive across the team.

In what is still regarded as an early adopter marketplace, the scale of growth at Caplor has been impressive with turnover doubling in 2022/23.

The result

“We now employ more than 50 people plus multiple contractors, are in the top 5-10% of UK installers by volume of business and our wide range of products and services cater for the needs of domestic, agricultural, commercial and community-based customers. The work we’ve done with Firestarter has been instrumental in our success.

“They’re business people too and understand the challenges of being an owner manager. That’s been an important part of developing our relationship, knowing that the team are available to offer counsel on any business-related issue, not just limited to sales and marketing.

“While succession planning had slowly started, things were accelerated when I unexpectedly became ill in 2021 and was out of action for five months. This gave Neil Evans, and the senior team, the opportunity and space to really demonstrate their incredible abilities.

“While it was an unorthodox succession, ultimately it was a successful one and Neil took on the role of Managing Director in March 2021. He is now responsible for the running of the business.

“The knowledge and skills that the team benefitted from as part of our work with Firestarter, and that continue to do so eight years on, certainly contributed to this success. It’s hugely reassuring to know that they’re still with us to provide valuable support and guidance as we continue to grow and navigate all that comes with it. I’m now able to focus my energy on advocacy for sustainable business and renewable energy, working with a variety of organisations from local to national.”

Gareth Williams