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Wednesday, Jul 17, 2024

Entrepreneur Profile , Lynn Flanagan

The first time Lynn Flanagan ran a marathon, she told herself that if she lived, she was going to burn her shoes.

Two days later, Flanagan found herself shopping for new shoes and within three years, she started In Motion, an event marketing firm that produces races like the Carlsbad Marathon and Half Marathon and the Komen San Diego Race for the Cure.

“A lot of it is common sense,” Flanagan said of her unexpected leap into the business world. “And I come from a family of entrepreneurs so when things got tough, I would call (my brothers) and ask, ‘What would you do?’ ”

The Carlsbad-based firm turns out eight to 10 races a year, including two that the company owns. In Motion also runs training programs through In Motion Fit for nearly 1,000 runners each year and boasts an online apparel company.

More than anything, running , or rather, running events , has become a way of life. Two of Flanagan’s daughters work full time for the business and her other children are involved on a part-time basis.

“I’m so passionate about running,” she said, ‘that I know if I can just get people to try it and have the experience of a successful race, they’re going to stick with it.”


Name: Lynn Flanagan.

Titles: President and CEO.

Company: In Motion Inc.

Company address: 6355 Corte del Abeto, Suite C103, Carlsbad.

Company phone: (760) 692-2900.

Year founded: 1981.

Prior business experience: None.

Average hours worked weekly: 40-50.

Source of startup capital: My savings from a part-time job as an X-ray technician for a group of urologists.

2006 revenue: $1,250,000.

2005 revenue: $900,000.

Number of employees: Four full-time, three part-time, and a weekend event crew of eight to 10 people.

Web site: www.inmotionevents.com.


Birthplace: Detroit.

Education: Attended University of San Diego for three years, majoring in sociology.

Age: 66.

Current residence: La Costa.

Family: Husband, Travis Burleson; four children, three stepchildren, nine grandchildren.

Hobbies: Spending time with family, running, reading and learning.


Reason for getting into business: My passion for running and my desire to create my own business. I come from a family of entrepreneurs.

How I plan to grow the business: By continuing to grow our existing events, expanding our online apparel sales and developing more company-owned events.

Biggest plus of business ownership: Being able to create the work environment I want.

Biggest drawbacks: Sleepless nights and not having someone else hand me a paycheck.

Biggest business strength: Being willing to take risks, having a creative mind and being able to understand the goals of our clients and sponsors.

Biggest business weakness: The need to be involved in every aspect of the business.

Biggest risk: Saying yes to a project when I really should have said no.

Smartest business decision: To control our growth and focus on our core business.

Biggest business mistake: Taking people at their word without doing the research.

Toughest career decision: Deciding to go it alone vs. having a partner.

Biggest ongoing challenge: Juggling our schedule of events so that we have enough time to rejuvenate and enjoy quality family time.

The most important part of my business: Saying yes to the right opportunities and no to the wrong ones.

My business works best when: We all work as a team and are in constant communication, sharing information, ideas, concerns and solutions.

Best way to stay competitive: Knowing what’s going on in the market and staying true to our commitment , “Under-promise and over-deliver.”

How I measure success: Success is when participants, sponsors, vendors, staff, volunteers and the community in which the event is held are smiling at the end of the day, pleased with the end result and eager to do it again.


Goal yet to be achieved: Take a three-month RV trip across the country and not check in with the office every day.

My five-year business plan: To continue to increase our revenue by focusing on producing a select group of top quality events and meeting the increasing needs of our clients.

I would sell my business only if: My daughters, Christine Adams and Ellen Larson, were in agreement and were no longer passionate about carrying the company forward.

Guiding principles I will continue to follow: We will continue our commitment to integrity and quality.


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