We've pointed out before here at Small Business Trends that the United States is becoming more entrepreneurial. More people own small businesses than ever before. Depending on which statistics you use, the number of U.S. small businesses is somewhere between 5 and 10 million. That estimate jumps to over 20 million if you include the self-employed and sole proprietors. An important subset to this overall entrepreneurial trend is the increasing number of Americans who are buying existing small businesses, instead of starting their own. According to a report by Wachovia, small business acquisitions are growing in popularity. On any given day in the United States, 1.7 million businesses are for sale. The reason people are buying businesses instead of starting them is money. For many kinds of industries, such as manufacturing or owning a motel, the cost of starting a new business would far exceed the cost of buying into an existing operation. Anecdotal reports from mergers & acquisitions professionals and business brokers suggest there are more buyers than sellers in certain industries. One reason is the number of out-of-work corporate executives. These days, more than ever before, there are greater numbers of veteran business people who can come up with the $100,000 to $2 Million (USD) they might need to buy an existing small business. And who prefer to be business owners rather than employees.