Failure is a phenomenon that ventures face during all stages of the life cycle and requires insight into its causes before it can be reversed. The scientific literature on failure is, however, spread over multiple disciplines. This study's line of enquiry firstly reviews the documented research (both theoretical and empirical) encompassing the phenomenon 'business failure' on a multidisciplinary basis. A conceptual framework is then proposed for categorising variables into four sub-domains namely: signs and prediction; causes and preconditions; recovery; and cognition and learning. Better understanding of the failure phenomenon is achieved. The methodology applied is fundamentally based on grounded theory interpretation with a focus on classifying the identified relevant variables.