Accountancy firm BDO, which published the survey, said it suggests the economy will struggle to grow in the first quarter of this year.
That is despite signs of improvement in the labour market, it said, with firms intending to hire more staff.
The survey gauges optimism in business performance and the economy over the next six months.
BDO’s Optimism Index fell to 88.9 in January, well below the score of 95 needed to indicate growth.
That is the lowest level recorded since the survey was launched in 1992.
Peter Hemington, a partner at BDO, said the findings suggested businesses were becoming used to the lack of sustained growth in the UK economy.
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