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Substance without Style


 “All style and no substance” is something that we have all heard before; uttered by way of a critique, not implying but forthrightly stating that a product, idea or even a person looks the part but this hides an absence of anything to back it up.

In our time we have seen our fair share of this; C.V.’s that are too good to be true and interviews that go so well you cannot believe you’ve found the right candidate (you haven’t). Our particular bug bear is gloriously presented power points which go swish and woosh and fly in and out of focus at the right time. And tell you precisely nothing except that you are really good at powerpoint and animations.

But what of the other way around?

If style over substance is annoying (and it is) what of substance without style?

All modern thoughts in the business world revolve now around the concept of brand, not just the company you work for or the product you sell, but of you, an individual. What do you represent when you walk into a room or stand on stage or present to the board for the first time? All sets of eyes are on you, its your moment to show them (delete as appropriate) why you are worth hiring / not firing / giving a pay rise / about to give a pay rise / promotion etc.

Even at a more mundane level, the first time you are asked to send detailed information to a board member or senior manager is often in the format of an attached document. Which at the end of the day represents you.

So a company selling templates is going to recommend buying good templates?

Yes. But not always.

We have genuinely witnessed many average people promoted, having presented their average work in a brilliant way over brilliant people presenting their work in an average way. Right or wrong, its just what we’ve seen.

Consider the audience, the requirement and the message you are trying to get across.

1. Don’t over do it
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If you have been asked for a no-frill 5 line overview to be sent on an e-mail, we would recommend you produced exactly that.

After all, sometimes less really is more; you wouldn’t over engineer packaging for a single banana now would you?

2. Be clear

Screen Shot 2016-07-18 at 11.11.43

Use our templates, create your own, develop your unique style, use graphics and buttons or anything else you can think of.

BUT if they are there because they are pretty and don’t tell you anything, take them out. Anything that does not add information in an easy to comprehend way that makes immediate sense is a huge distraction will subtract hugely from the rest of your hard work.

3. Be Consistent

Screen Shot 2016-07-18 at 15.07.09 Define what and how you report and show this in the same way with the same criteria each time.

e.g. If you use Red Amber Green ratings on a dial and Amber is always 70% for instance, don’t have another report out there with a different dial and Green at 70%.

4. Take a step back and check it works

Sometimes we get too close to a project and struggle to convey information to those who do not know the ins and outs. Validate it with others to make sure that what you are trying to get across is actually what you are getting across.

It’s easy to get it wrong sometimes!

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Need help with Copyright Infringement of Template Design or Digital File Download?

Need help with Copyright Infringement of your Template Design?

Have you had your Intellectual Property stolen?

We would like to help you with your Copyright Protection!

Here at Business Documents UK Ltd we have had some experience with copyright infringement. We have had to contact a selection of online businesses that have been offering our template formats (recreated or directly copied) for free or for onward sale.

In all cases so far, the templates have been provided to them by freelancers, and in all cases so far the company in question has acknowledged the infringement, and has withdrawn the offending items, after varying lengths of correspondence and discussion. None so far have required legal action. So far.

Template Email to company infringing your copyrighted product:

The below template is a fairly informal note that you can use to make an amicable first contact. Please feel free to use this, and then follow the next steps underneath.

Dear Sirs,
It has come to our attention that there is evidence of an infringement of our copyrighted intellectual property on your website.
We are assuming you have been provided this by a 3rd party, and would like to help you resolve this ASAP.
For reference, the {item} you have on {URL} is a copy of our copyrighted material at {URL}.
Also, for the avoidance of doubt you can see our copyright notice here {insert link}.
We are happy to help you address any questions or doubts raised if you were provided this by a 3rd party to discuss this infringement – it’s clearly something you need to avoid recurring, and can cause a slur on your good brand.
Please let us know as quickly as possible how you would like to proceed.
You will appreciate that we take this very seriously, as this intellectual property is an important part of our business.
Kind Regards,
{Company Footer}

Send that email as you can, and the response should help you decide how to proceed.

Next Steps

  1. Best Case – Immediate Cooperation : If they respond well – stay in touch and build a relationship – you are in the same business area, and could benefit from this. We are living evidence that this has happened.
  2. Likely Case – More Evidence Required : If they claim to have originated the format (i.e. that there is no infringement) or just think you are chancing it, or even deluded, they are likely to contest your claims. Respond calmly, and provide whatever evidence you can find; professional signed evidence from a respected colleague; dated archive from The Web Archive (I love that website!); dated emails and dated file information – whatever you can provide!! NB stay calm. Always.
  3. Getting Worse – No Response : If you hear nothing back, do not be disheartened. DO NOT RESORT TO AGGRESSIVE LANGUAGE – It never helps. Resend your email, and send a hard copy to their business address, on your logo’d paper. Follow them on twitter, facebook, G+, and send them professional and kind messages via these social networks.
  4. Worse Still – No Cooperation : At this stage I would advise issuing the DMCA copyright notice from Scribd, and send a hard copy to the business too.
  5. Worst Case – you need some help combating the offender : Be careful here, you could get into a quarrel or legal battle – a big energy and resource drain. If you are absolutely sure of your case, and believe the offender is being deliberately, then you could approach e.g. Google here to report and request removal from their search indexing. If you are in the USA, there is a list of copyright infringement agents who can help here.

NB – ALWAYS STAY CALM. We have surprisingly developed some business relationships with a couple of the organisations who were unwittingly infringing our copyright.

The UK Copyright Service has some great materials and information to help you with Copyright.

If you are in the same business as Business Documents UK (downloadable document template files) you are more than welcome to use our Copyright Notice if you like – just drop us an email or link back to us for reference.

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Roadmap Templates

Business Roadmap Template

Business Documents UK are experts in Roadmap Template formats – our consultants have been leading in this space since 2005.

What is a “Roadmap” Format?

We have a good article here, on “how to create your project roadmap“.

Some of our Powerpoint Roadmap Templates

Some of our Visio Roadmap Templates

Why use Roadmap Templates?

You should use a Roadmap Templates for:-

  1. communicating a project, portfolio or programme roadmap
  2. outlining your high level plans
  3. communicating a project scope, division of effort, and timline within the space of a few minutes
  4. communicating with groups of project managers
  5. to clearly communicate a programme roadmap
  6. when gantt chart plans are too complex to understand in a short space of time
  7. communicating with people with short attention spans
  8. when your normal project plan formats gets too cluttered for your liking

Get at least 30% discount on our best selling roadmap templates when you buy them in a “bundle”.

The Roadmap Template format is used widely in “Agile Project Management”.