GEAR GUIDELINES: A high-powered PC with MS Office is recommended, as well as software that lists media contacts, such as Bacon's Media Software (Bacon's, 800-621-0561). Invest in a copier (about $900) and a solid postage processor for bulk mailing. Add a fax machine, two or three phone lines, business cards and letterhead. Total cost: $5,000
WHAT THEY SPENT: Total start-up funds of $10,000 bought three 486 desktop "clones" and hired a networking consultant to streamline information exchange in the office. Erica and Brian Swerdlow also bought contact management software and acquired access to Lexis-Nexis, an online news and business information service. They leased a copy machine.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: Public Relations Society of America (http://www.prsa.org, 212-995-2230)