Ep 45: Mark Stokes

Start with the business, not the property, with large Commercial Developer Mark Stokes

Partner at EquaGroup, Mark Stokes left corporate life to build multigenerational businesses his children could be part of.  And he selected property as the asset class that would facilitate this.

Mark joins me in this episode and we discuss:

  • Being a good “leaver” — laying the right foundation before leaving corporate life
  • Why Mark settled on property as an asset class
  • Mark’s biggest business failure

In this episode we discuss:

00:51               Introduction to Mark Stokes

  • Mark’s background [01:40]
  • When Mark decided to leave corporate life [02:50]
  • What people might not know about Mark [03:40]

04:56               Leaving corporate life — Mark reveals why he left and what he did before leaving

  • Laying the right foundation before leaving corporate life [07:57]

10:40               Mark talks about creating shared value

13:14               Why Mark settled on property as an asset class

17:24               The reality of entrepreneurship

19:28               Effective time management — Mark shares a question that will help you more effectively manage your time

24:25               Biggest business failure — Mark talks about not having large enough aspirations

28:19               What Mark has had to work on to develop

Quick Juice Questions

37:30   What does your business primarily look for when searching for sites, and why?

“As a business we focus very much on underlying cash flows.

But we’re also a people business as well. And part of the freedom of choice that is really important to me is only working with people who have the right value systems.”

40:05   Where should someone start if they are new to property?

“I wouldn’t start with a property. I would start with business.

Everything we do, we run businesses. Some of those businesses happen to have a hard asset class in them.

So it’s good solid principles of running a business, whether that’s structuring, whether that’s your funding, cash flow, […]

And then, wherever your specific individual deployment strategies are in …”

43:12   What most inspires you? When and where are you most inspired?

“The simple answer would be people. I love being with people. I learn so much.

Where am I more inspired? I get my inspiration in different ways.

If I’m in a more relaxed environment — if I maybe go away for a weekend with the board or something like that — I’m very good at thinking more creatively and strategically. If we’re in a high tempo, more office environment, then it’s about the devil of the detail.

So, the environment can adjust the way I think sometimes,”

44:44   Which book has inspired you and changed your thinking the most?

“Quiet Soldier by Adam Ballinger. It’s raw. It’s gritty. It gets down to the point of setting an objective for yourself personally and just doing whatever it takes to get through.”

46:10   If there’s one last bit of Executive Juice you can share for people who want to get to the top of their property game, what would it be?

“Always create shared value.”


  • I think one of the greatest strengths any business man or woman can have is humility, and understanding that you can give in any situation and receive, and we can all improve.
  • If you try and spread yourself too thin, you’ll fail at all levels.

Connect with Mark Stokes:

Books mentioned: