AFTER 22 years working with Penrith's small businesses, John Todd can confidently claim to know his stuff.
Mr Todd, chief executive of the Penrith City and District Business Advisory Centre, was originally seconded to the role of management training for Westpac.
"At the end of my term they decided not to continue with the secondment so I applied to the centre's board to stay," Mr Todd said.
"I got the position and resigned from the bank."
Although the role has remained much the same during his time with the advisory centre, Mr Todd said staff numbers and the range of issues they now deal with had increased.
As the "go to" place for small business in the region, the advisory centre needs to ensure that it stays viable.
"I spend a large part of my time chasing up new contracts to keep the centre operating," Mr Todd said.
"I now represent the centre and the members of the three industry-related boards of programs we deliver — the National NEIS Association, Business Enterprise Centres Australia and Business Incubation and Innovation Australia.
"They keep me busy, especially when we have a change of government and we have to brief new ministers."
So is the change in government good news for small business?
Mr Todd said it was, generally speaking, but that it's early days yet.
"We have a Small Business Minister in cabinet with small business his only portfolio, which is a good step forward by the Abbott government," he said. "We also have small business commissioners in every state plus a national one, so I suspect the current state and federal governments are putting a bigger emphasis on the small business sector, which is a good thing."
And what does he see as the main challenge of his role as chief executive officer in an organisation established to help our region's small businesses thrive?
"Keeping the finances of the centre stable," Mr Todd said.
"Governments are wanting more and more for less money, so it is a challenge, but we have been here for 25 years and have a good reputation with them.
"But we still need to be ahead of the rest, so we are always changing and offering new service delivery."