Gone are the days of when entrepreneurs believed they had to spend thousands of dollars, which they saved for years in order to start their dream business. Today's business environment allows for start-up businesses to advertise and market their business for pennies on a dollar or sometimes for free.

Business owners should understand the importance of social networking, free marketing items and professional organizations. Here are some cost effective tips for business owners wanting to promote their businesses on a shoestring budget:

Social Networking Websites. Seemingly websites such as MySpace, Facebook and Twitter are used for the sole purpose of meeting or talking to friends. But these sites can prove to be beneficial for networking a business as well. Many businesses and entrepreneurs use these sites to find clients and gain international recognition even if their client base remains local. The key is the development of a profile which is tailor to your business and not be personal. If the tween and teen type sites are not an ideal marketing medium there are professional networking sites such as LinkedIn, ISeeColor and Ning. These sites allow business owners to meet other business minded individuals and make connections. All social networking sites allow business owners to upload pictures and documents.

Free Marketable Items. Yes, free marketable items are out there for business owners and these items are of good quality. There are a wealth of websites offering free business cards, free promotional items and even one month free of web hosting. Vista Print is a well-know site which offers free items for small businesses while only charging shipping and handling fees. Other websites such as Yahoo offer the web hosting services starting at $ 20 a month.

Professional Membership. Belonging to an organization is only as important as the effort you put into maintaining the membership. Attending meetings, events and conferences will allow you to be able to network with business owners you can identify with. Almost every profession has an industry specific professional organization. Ask around, volunteer or attend free meetings and then join. Consider joining various cultural professional organizations. The potential to cross market your business is exponential.

The goal is not to spend money you may not have but to create abundant opportunities to generate business leads and clients through the use of free networking sites, free business cards or low priced generic websites and membership into professional organizations. Business owners should never spend more than what they have generated in sales unless they have a substantial amount of capital. For a business owner on a shoe string budget it is important to dedicate time towards developing your business. Consider upgrading your marketing and advertising campaigns once you have enough revenue but until then use all the free or discounted services as possible and make lifelong connections through proper networking.

Source by Ivy N. Carter