With the economy on the rise and unemployment at its lowest for a number of years, together with the fact that online sales are growing significantly year on year, the answer would seem to be No. There has never been a better time to start an online business!Having said that, there is talk of economic growth starting to stall in certain parts of the world, so what’s the answer? Well the reality is that there will never be the perfect time to start a business whether it is online or offline and if you are waiting for everything to be just right, you will be old and grey and still waiting.Online business is certainly the growth sector at present and looks set to continue for the foreseeable future. It is also a viable addition to the marketing channels for many offline businesses.In a recent study carried out by the Centre for Retail Research, which looked at eight European countries and the USA, it was estimated that combined online sales for 2014 would be in excess of $518 billion (€379 billion). Which is an increase of 18.1% over the previous year. As far as Europe is concerned online sales are strongest in the UK, France and Germany, who together account for 81.3% of purchases.In terms of online sales as a percentage of retail sales, the UK currently tops the league table with 13.5%, followed closely by the USA on 11.6% and Germany on 9.7%.This impressive growth has been fuelled by the increase in mobile shopping using smartphones and tablets, which in 2013 accounted 8.3% of online sales in Europe and 13.8% in the US. These are final transaction figures, browsing numbers are considerably higher. After all it is worth remembering that the world carries the Internet around with them in their pockets and bags nowadays, making browsing and buying online ever easier.With a market of this size and projected growth rate, it’s almost goes without saying that online business is here to stay for the foreseeable future and offers an unrivalled opportunity for those who are either looking to start a business or to expand an existing enterprise.Of course this does not mean that everyone who decides to start an online business will be successful. There are record numbers of start-ups and closures in this arena. For those who make it though, the rewards can be staggering.So how can you ensure that you are one of the winners rather than the losers? Well a good place to start is by following some of the tried and tested rules of business. Your chances of success both online and off are greatly improved if you choose a business sector in which you have previous experience.However if you choose to venture into an area outside your range of knowledge, make sure that you get good advice on how to proceed. Again the success rate is greatly enhanced if you are advised and mentored by someone who has been there, done it and knows what works and what doesn’t.