The Forum of Private Business (FPB) has warned that there could be another "winter of discontent" among businesses if energy prices continue to rise.
The trade body's quarterly survey carried out among its members shows that 95 per cent of companies questioned said they have seen an increase in their business costs.
Some 85 per cent of firms blamed increased energy costs for the rise in outgoings, while 82 per cent said they have experienced soaring marketing costs.
Nearly three quarters of respondents said they were faced with rising prices on stock, while one third said they felt unable to pass costs onto customers, meaning they had to cut back to stabilise pricing.
Alex Jackman, senior policy advisor for the FPB said: "The major reasons for increases in prices are predominantly down to VAT and energy prices rising, coupled with the weakness of sterling for importers.
He said: "Unfortunately, it does not look as if there is going to be any respite from energy hikes any time soon. Oil prices have started rising again having dipped in the summer, and now we have the likes of British Gas raising prices for customers too. On the horizon we have a 3p-a-litre increase in fuel duty scheduled for January.
"It could be that we are shaping up for another winter of discontent, particularly if the mercury plunges this winter and firms are hit with huge heating bills and a fall in trade like we saw three years ago."
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