The Scottish Chambers of Commerce (SCC) started the new year by calling on the Scottish Government to urgently address the “continual cry” of firms to “sort our business rates”.
SCC chief executive Liz Cameron also sought reassurance that the small business bonus is not under threat.
And she urged Holyrood to “think very carefully” about the future of the ScotRail franchise in the wake of ministers deciding to end the current deal early.
In her New Year message, Ms Cameron said the governments in both London and Edinburgh “must do everything in their power” to help businesses to thrive and grow, including by helping them to tackle a “massive” skills challenge.
She added: “We also need to ensure that the signals sent out to investors in infrastructure – including in the transport sector – ring loud and clear that Scotland is truly open for business.
“Significant aspects of our competitive edge are in the hands of elected parliamentarians.
“They must put jobs and business high on their list of policy and operational priorities, committing to a major clampdown on the rising cost of doing business.
“There is a quietly growing perception that business needs to be taxed or even punished for growing and creating jobs, which is driving policies that make business investment more challenging.
“Maintaining and honing competitive edge will be essential if Scottish employers are to compete globally and tackle the challenges we all face.”
The financial crisis and a “slow lurch” towards Brexit had left firms “battered”, Ms Cameron said.