Pitching a business idea to investors: How new venture founders use micro-level rhetoric to achieve narrative plausibility and resonance

Ruben van Werven*, Onno Bouwmeester, Joep P. Cornelissen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

For entrepreneurial narratives to be effective, they need to be judged as plausible and have to resonate with an audience. Prior research has, however, not examined or explained how entrepreneurs try to meet these criteria. In this article, we addressed this question by analysing the micro-level arguments underpinning the pitch narratives of entrepreneurs who joined a business incubator. We discerned four previously unidentified rhetorical strategies that these entrepreneurs used to achieve narrative plausibility and resonance. Our findings further suggest that temporality and product development status may shape how entrepreneurs use these strategies. By outlining these aspects of entrepreneurial rhetoric, we contribute to opening up the black box of narrative resonance and plausibility and advance work on the role of rhetoric in entrepreneurship.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)193–214
JournalInternational Small Business Journal: Researching Entrepreneurship
Volume37
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2019

Keywords

  • argumentation
  • entrepreneurial narratives
  • investment opportunity
  • new venture
  • pitch
  • plausibility
  • resonance
  • resource acquisition
  • rhetoric

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