As a business owner, you’re well aware that sales can be unpredictable, and it’s no secret that the economy has been less than stable. In fact, just one in five small business owners believes the U.S. economy is in good health. And while 63 percent of those founders have reported that their business has been in good health since Q2 2022, we all know just how quickly circumstances can take a turn—and how challenging it can be to turn things around.
So, we tapped into 17 female founders to learn their tried and true strategies for boosting sales, even in tough times. While there’s not a one-size-fits-all solution that will work for every business, it’s worth experimenting with a variety of strategies to land on a promising few. From launching subscriptions to conducting rapid fire audits and sending personalized follow-ups, these founder-verified ideas will help you get started.
Founder and CEO of Beautifuli Digital, a boutique web agency that specializes in re-designing and optimizing websites for women-led brands.
My strategy: Consider re-analyzing your client experience by asking yourself, “How can I make working with me feel like staying at a five-star hotel versus a two-star motel?” I saw a 15 percent lift in referral business and returning clients when I improved parts of my client process so that clients felt like they were receiving double the value of what they paid for. I sprinkled my process with surprise deliverables and welcome gifts that made my clients feel exceedingly happy to work with me—and inspired them to refer their friends or hire me for future projects. A top-notch, unique, and high-quality client experience helps you stand apart and can increase sales for your brand.
Founder and CEO of Em Dash Blogging, providing an end-to-end content solution for small to mid-size companies.
My strategy: In my first year of business, I focused on cold outreach. A few months into my second year, I joined two networking platforms and set up coffee dates with anyone who would take the time. The goal wasn’t necessarily getting their business, but rather sharing our stories and connecting. Without the goal of a sale on the table, it immediately took the pressure off and enabled me to simply enjoy a chat with someone new. I made amazing friends, learned a lot, and grew my business by 868 percent from my first year.
Founder and CEO of Chuan’s Promise, a natural skincare brand focused on sustainability and inclusivity.
My strategy: We realized our repeat customers were re-ordering certain products every few months when they received our email newsletters. So we introduced subscription options based on the data we had from those customers’ past orders. This helped us achieve more predictability and increase customer loyalty and loan-to-value. Of course, we announced the launch of subscriptions in our email newsletter!
Founder of Happening Ideas, a marketing consultancy focused on driving efficient e-commerce growth for direct-to-consumer brands.
My strategy: Focus on the customer experience on your website. Look for opportunities to reduce friction along the path to purchase to improve conversion rate. For example, is it easy for prospective customers to find the information they need to make a purchase decision? Are your product pages, cart, and checkout experience intuitive? Are shipping and return policies clear? Fine-tuning the shopping experience contributed to a nearly 1,000 percent quarter-over-quarter revenue lift for one of my clients.
Jenny Hanh Nguyen
Co-Founder and CEO of Y’OUR Skin Care, specializing in personalized skin care using AI and human expertise.
My strategy: Donating gift bags to charity events. This is a great exposure to potential clientele and expressing how much you appreciate their support while giving back to the community and supporting a good cause.
Digital Marketing Consultant at BDY CONSULT LLC, a marketing agency providing small businesses and badass brands with creative and efficient marketing services.
My strategy: SEO. Marketing is about making sales but it’s also about helping people find what they need. By simply adding certain keywords and phrases to your site, you’re helping thousands, if not millions, of daily searchers find your products.
Founder of My Write Hand Woman, a personality-driven copywriting business for bold women-owned companies that want to stand out and scale rapidly.
My strategy: Do rapid-fire audits with an online community that aligns with your business. For service providers, your knowledge is your power. By going into a membership and giving everyone 60 to 90 seconds of your time to review their website, social media page, habits, or a mindset dilemma, you’re able to show off your brilliance and give tons of value in a tiny amount of time. I usually book three to four VIP days after offering a jam-packed hour like this in someone else’s community, membership, or group.
Founder and CEO of Pathway Coaching and Consulting, working with tech companies coaching high performers so they can be great leaders.
My strategy: Physical holiday cards worked like magic this year. People love authentic connection and working with people they know and trust. I printed them at Walgreens; they were ready the same day and were about $2.50 per card—so easy. Sending them helped me stay top of mind and kept the relationship warm. A few clients even reciprocated and sent me their family holiday cards.
Founder of Pixelkeet, working with the biggest names in tech to design, build, and launch digital products that make a positive impact on the world.
My strategy: I used to be far more introverted, so going to parties and talking to a bunch of strangers was the last thing on earth I’d want to do. I was more interested in working on projects and believed it to be more productive to study or build than to socialize. But over the years, I’ve met so many brilliant collaborators, partners, clients, and friends at events. I’ve found that getting out into the world and engaging with people in person has done more to help my career and business than anything else.
Founder and CEO of People First Finance, a high-touch financial services agency by women for ambitious women service providers.
My strategy: Send individual check-ins to prospective clients who weren’t a fit in the past. I send a note to check in and ask whether they’re in good hands with their current provider. And in case they’re not, I include a link to book a call. Our services are high-touch, so using this approach shows prospective clients that we actually care.
Founder and CEO of CSC Strategic Consulting, a full-service digital marketing agency built to measurably propel brands forward on and offline.
My strategy: Audit your current online footprint. Make sure your website has the most pointed information about your product/brand, your SEO is being managed for optimal online exposure, and your email marketing is linking back to trackable sales data. Also, offer discounts where applicable for new customers to drive conversions and collect first-party data. I love having my clients do this through an email marketing campaign so it’s both shareable and trackable.
Founder and CEO of Veneka, a capsule wardrobe styling service powered by a marketplace of sustainable and ethical brands.
My strategy: Partner with a nonprofit that’s aligned with your business or brand. Monetary, product, or service donations as a result of a customer’s action unlocks countless amplification opportunities. You’ll garner impressions from cross-sharing, unlock event opportunities, and collaborate on content on an ongoing basis. It signals creativity and care to your audience and helps make the world a better place. A win for you, the nonprofit, your customers, and our world.
Founder of Swim, leading early-stage tech companies from zero to one.
My strategy: Be the connector. I have always enjoyed connecting humans who should know one another, and have been making introductions within my network for many years. It only takes a second. When I launched my services business, I was pleasantly surprised by how willing so many people in my network were to introduce me to others. Most of my clients have come from those warm intros.
Coach and Speaker at Jess Villela Coaching, offering sales and leadership coaching for mission driven service-based businesses.
My strategy: Send a personal invitation follow-up with recent warm leads that are thoughtful and specific. When done well with genuine care and connection, this provides a high-touch experience that creates a very effective, organic path to boost conversion. First, take a moment to get clear about who in your recent warm leads you would be most excited to serve and work with. Then, craft a personal message that refers with specificity to what they’ve mentioned about their goals and desires. Letting them know you are thinking about them and that you’re in alignment with their goals is the key to a warm and resonant high-converting invitation.
Founder of Vacayou Wellness Travel, changing the way the world books wellness travel.
My strategy: We have built a very strong content and SEO engine resulting in more than 2,000,000 search impressions a month. I highly recommend spending time on this activity to increase organic traffic.
Founder of Wildes District, an NYC-based design studio that specializes in luxury and e-commerce brands in the fashion, beauty, lifestyle, and health and wellness sectors.
My strategy: Cross-promote and partner with like-minded brands for bundle kits, holiday offers, events, and special activations. This helps cross pollinate customer bases and creates new awareness for your brand without lots of expensive ad spend.
Founder and CEO of The ABerlin Agency, Inc., working with emerging personality-driven brands to cultivate visibility that translates into action on behalf of audiences.
My strategy: For the whole of my 23 year career in communications, I’ve been heralding the power of public relations—free, earned visibility—over advertising. As such, I’ve employed every sans-social, sans-ad-buy tactic, either myself or on behalf of clients. These tactics are best at creating relationships between a business and its audiences. My favorite, most creative, and unconventional way to spark sales sans social and ad spend is a speaking tour. Proactive speaking outreach is the best approach here. We research professional organizations and local chapters and pitch a workshop or talk. The secret is to create content that converts, which means the content you deliver must activate the audience to take the next step with you.