From start-up costs to paying employees, entering the world of small business is not an easy journey for your bank account. After all of the hassles of figuring out how to pay for your initial costs of expenses such as office space and supplies, one large question remains. How do you reach potential consumers? Without a large budget to accommodate the overwhelming costs of advertising in print publications, attracting the attention of buyers can be a serious challenge.

However, advertising can be much cheaper than you expect. Any way in which you reach the eyes and ears of an audience is a form of advertising, and you have an audience of millions waiting on the other end of your computer. The cost of reaching them: zero dollars.

As Internet use continues to soar, buying, selling and advertising online do, too. Advertising banners and site space will incur another expense on your small business, but there are many opportunities to avoid these costs while still putting your business’ name on the map.

The Internet continues to be the primary outlet for people in search of new friends and acquaintances. Consider the number of host sites that operate on networks of people tied together via a common thread. and, two of the leading sites for this style of networking, offer premier advertising at virtually no cost. As these two URLs become some of the most-visited sites on the Internet, the number of users continues to grow.

Whatever your small business sells or services, you can reach a large number of people via sites just like these. From musicians to small business owners like yourself, these sites can create millions of “friends” that can check out your business. Simply create a profile that includes your business’ aims, and work to stir traffic to your online description. One huge advantage of these sites is the use of filters. Whatever your target demographic, you can search for people by age, sex and home in the attempt to reach your primary audience.

Blogging offers invaluable advertising, too. No matter the category of your business, chances are that writers devote daily posts to blogs dedicated to this topic. Search for these posts online, and become a part of this Internet community with responses to posts. Include your thoughts on products, and communicate with other writers to develop electronic dialogue about subjects related to your small business.

Chat rooms and open forums offer much of the same advertising opportunities of blogging. With the chance to post your own thoughts and comments, these outlets are a source of making your small business available to other Internet users.

With so much free advertising space available, you can see the wealth of opportunities for the growth of your small business. As you search for free advertising space, remember that many of these sites include those in search of new friends. Because of this, personal and direct contact is the most effective form of communication that leads to automatic and indirect advertising. Rather than paying the large cost of generic ad space, use these innovative ways to build close relationships with potential customers