Crane hire specialist Baldwins Industrial Services experienced just that when it was forced to issue one profit warning in October and another last week.
Things have obviously not been going too well for Baldwins – the company blames the bleak picture on its poor UK performance, increased operating costs in the USA and the bill for restructuring. This compounds the £1m hit the group took after the collapse of Independent Insurance.
The bad news inevitably sent investors running for cover, and the firm's share price immediately plummeted 25% to 27p when the news was released to the stock exchange on Tuesday.
To compound Baldwin's problems, profit warnings tend to scare investors off for quite a while, and the group will be hard pressed to convince the moneymen it is a good bet in the near future.
Of course, those who have a substantial stake may be forced to hang on to it because they cannot afford to get out.
One analyst said: "It's a tough time for Baldwins. It just has to tough it out."