When it comes to starting a business, electronic commerce may make the difference between success and failure. That is the finding of John Penrose, a professor and chairman of information and decision systems at San Diego State University's College of Business Administration in California. Electronic commerce -- connecting a business through intranets and the Web -- saves time and increases efficiency. According to Penrose, some companies are making huge profits selling through the Web. Dell Computers had sales of $1 million per day in the spring of 1997 through its Web site. Penrose cites research that indicates online sales will increase from $1.3 billion in 1996 to $176 billion in 2001.