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Grow stronger by introducing further diversity into your BNI® chapter

by BNI New Zealand

Having a diverse range of perspectives and experiences is essential to growth and success in business. Why? Because it breeds innovation and success – which all BNIers want to achieve.

A diverse range of ideas and viewpoints can help lead to creative breakthrough. Diverse businesses on the other hand, may have more creative energy to harness than others.


The theme for International Networking Week earlier this month was Diversity and Networking. People tend to cluster together based on education, age, ethnicity, professional status, gender, etc. When we surround ourselves only with people who have similar contacts, it can be difficult to make connections with new people or companies.

At BNI New Zealand we recognise that the more diverse your network, the more powerful your chapter becomes and the more developed you can become as a business person. It’s the people who are not like you, who can connect you to a completely new “cluster.”

So, here’s how to start a discussion within your chapter about how each member can help look for business people in diverse industries that may benefit from BNI.

  1. Have all the chapter members understand the importance of bringing in different industries – they all have networks that will be beneficial to them. These are people from all walks of life who you would never have usually the opportunity to connect with, do work with and develop friendships with.
  2. Brainstorm as a group some new or niche industries. It doesn’t necessarily have to be ones that seem evident to benefit you first-hand. In the last year there has been an explosion of niche industries, especially in the digital space. Think about these topical industries you’ve read or heard about, seen in media, had someone mention to you in a work or social environment. Also, what new businesses have you seen pop up in own community, or in the area you meet?
  3. Once the chapter creates a list, then it needs to be activated!
  • Who has a contact in the industry?
  • How do you best reach out if there isn’t a known contact within the network?
  • How will you extend an invitation to visit your chapter?
  • What plan is there to ensure that visitors feel engaged with the group post meeting; which members from the chapter will be setting up one to one meetings with them?
  • Look at a timeline, choose a deadline to help accomplish each task.

Having a balanced representation of various age groups, genders and interests in your chapter does strengthen it. Inviting people from niche or unusual businesses can take your chapter from strong to robust. By bringing such diversity to your chapter, every member can be enriched even further by the amazing new relationships formed.

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