Major dissatisfaction remains with both regional development agencies and Business Links, according to a new report.
The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales said replies to its annual Enterprise survey revealed "serious questions" about the role of both organisations.
The survey highlights what it calls the disparity in their performances.
Eight out of ten businesses (79 per cent) were aware of their RDA, but fewer than one in five (16 per cent) said that they had any idea of what they actually do.
Similar results were seen for the Business Links - 77 per cent and 31 per cent respectively.
ICAEW went on: "Even more alarmingly there is a high level of dissatisfaction with the perceived performance of RDAs on their five targets which include attracting/stimulating new business in a region.
"In addition a quarter of businesses (26 per cent) who had used Business Links - small firm advisory bodies - in the past said that they would not consider doing so again in the future. This was mainly due to dissatisfaction with the quality of the advice they had received."
Advantage West Midlands, headed by chief executive John Edwards, has already proposed a controversial shake-up of Business Links, putting the service on a regional basis.
An AWM spokesman said: "While the report is not specific to Advantage West Midlands, there are some general issues we have already taken on board and are working to address.
"The point about attracting inward investment surely is misplaced in our case given that last year's foreign investment figures for the West Midlands were the best since records began in 1991.
"The issue of enterprise is one we have been working on for some time through the establishment of the West Midlands Enterprise Board and our work to transform the Business Links.
"Our new model of Business Links in the West Midlands will have much greater focus on enterprise and will engage far more with businesses."
The survey found that despite the gloomy economic outlook, businesses are planning for strong growth in the next two years.
Over two-thirds of those surveyed (69 per cent) were looking to grow by six per cent or more per year, including 16 per cent forecasting growth in excess of 30 per cent per year.
Unsurprisingly the retail sector was the least optimistic about future expansion prospects.
Eric Anstee, chief executive of the ICAEW, said: "That companies have confidence in the long term prospects for their business is to be welcomed.
"Yet it is a fragile confidence and one that the Government needs to nurture rather than shatter. There is much demand from SME business for effective and relevant help and Business Links have a real opportunity to provide this. Government needs to focus on supporting and encouraging businesses not holding them back with more legislation and regulation."
Reginald Wynniatt-Husey, president of Birmingham and West Midlands ICAEW, said: "Confidence is 'key' to ensuring continued enthusiasm.
"The West Midlands region, in particular, has been very proactive towards business restructuring in recent years which is now starting to filter through."
The survey found that businesses still believe the burden of legislation is increasing while employment law is ranked as the topmost burden. ..SUPL: