Businesses across Lancashire have been urged to not hold back as they apply for one of the county’s leading awards.

Norman Tenray, the owner of OBAS UK, the Longridge-based construction services group, is one of the 70 business leaders which will pick the winners for this year’s Be Inspired Business Awards, the BIBAs.

He said he was looking for businesses to put across the drivers behind their success in “a concise, interesting and structured way.”

The businessman picked up the awards’ Business Person of the Year prize in 2009 and saw his firm named Business of the Year the following year.

Mr Tenray said: “I review each application at least four times prior to the interviews to ensure I know the business inside out.

“Applicants put a huge amount of time and effort into writing applications and, as judges, we must match that effort to ensure we select the right winners.

“An application which clearly sets out the company’s achievements and future vision which is supported evidence of their achievements is exactly what I am looking for.”

He recalled an application which “achieved amazing things against incredible odds,” as the most impressive application he had seen in his five years as a BIBAs judge; it brought to life the tenacity, commitment, blood, sweat and tears that had been invested in the business and its workforce.

Mr Tenray added: “They were able to focus on the changes and innovative approaches they have delivered with huge determination to change the culture of their people and their business.”

The BIBAs is hosting its free boot camp workshop on Friday, March 4, which will offer potential applicants advice on how to prepare their entries for the awards’ 18 prize categories.

It will see judges and former winners, including Mr Tenray, give the benefit of their experience during a session at the North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce’s Fylde Coast office in Blackpool.

To sign up for the boot camp, visit www.thebibas.co.uk or telephone 01772 653000.

The BIBAs are now open for applications with a deadline for entries set for Friday, April 8.

In 2015, Lytham-based accountancy firm Danbro was named the Business of the Year when the BIBAs handed out its prizes in front of a sell-out crowd at the Blackpool Tower in September.

Social enterprise Jobs Friends and Houses CIC, which works with ex-offenders, won its Most Inspiring Business of the Year prize and individual prizes went to Phil Lawson of Skelmersdale’s Virtue Technologies, who won Entrepreneur of the Year and Louise Wilkinson, who runs Nelson-based Lomeshaye Village Day Nursery, who was named Business Woman of the Year.

NORMAN’S TOP TIPS

As a two-time BIBAs winner and long-serving judge, Norman Tenray understands what it takes to win the awards known as ‘the one they all want to win’ better than most.

Here he gives applicants bidding to lift one of the 18 prizes up for grabs at the awards next September his top tips.

• Think about why you are applying for the BIBAs and what you want to get out of the process.

• Consider how you would use the award status if you were a finalist or winner; this will give you the necessary focus and drive to put what is required into your application.

• Give yourself sufficient time to plan your application, think about what you want to say, how you want to structure it to ensure the judges get the best impression of you and your business.

• Start by writing out the major achievements you have made in the past 12 months and then focus these to the most salient points.

• When you know what your story is, involve the people who have helped your business to achieve this. An application which integrates the whole business achievements from a variety of perspectives is better than an individual working alone and will unite your employees in pursuit of winning a BIBA.

• Make sure your application reflects what your business is about, capture the DNA of what sets you apart from your competitors and others across Lancashire and beyond. It is about where you have come from, where you find yourself today and where you want to go – all of which needs to be clearly evidenced.

• Above all, do not leave your application to the last minute and make sure you enjoy the process.